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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Normal Speech and Language Development for Children Ages 4-5

Published February 26, 2013 10:59 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
This week's post is the final in my 8-week series highlighting typical speech and language development for young children ages birth to 5. Today's post specifically addresses what "normal" speech and language development looks like for a five year old child.

The Babycenter website states the following information about children this age:

"At 5, your child knows thousands of words and can say most of them clearly. She/He can describe people and events in detail and uses more complex sentences. In fact, 5-year-olds are often nonstop chatterboxes who like to tell stories, ask questions, or simply share with you every thought that pops into their heads. They're practicing all the language skills they've been picking up over the past few years, and their questions and comments reveal that they're also developing new ways of thinking.

"Your 5-year-old is fairly reliable about using proper verb tenses now (run, ran)....You'll also notice your child picking up conversational etiquette. For example, she may be more patient in conversations and more willing to take turns talking. She may also be more engaged, looking at the speaker and nodding her head."

According the ASHA (American Speech-Language and Hearing Association) website, 5-year old-children should have the following skills:


 Regarding "Hearing and Understanding" skills:

■Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them

■Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school


Regarding "Talking" skills:

■Uses sentences that give lots of details ("The biggest peach is mine").

■Tells stories that stick to topic.

■Communicates easily with other children and adults.

■Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th.

■Says rhyming words.

■Names some letters and numbers.

■Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.

It is important to remember that there is a fairly wide range of normal and that some children will surpass these skills by age 5, while others may have some of the skills but not quite others. Every child has their own strengths, weaknesses and personality traits that will influence their development along the way.

If you are seeing a delay in the areas of speech and language and your child is functioning 6 months or more behind what is outlined in the information above, it is worth asking your pediatrician whether a delay/disorder may be present and calling your local early intervention team.


Join me next week for HOW parents can help their child at home

IF/WHEN they know they are struggling in the areas of speech and language development.


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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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