How To Know If Your Toddler Needs A Speech Therapist?

How To Know If Your Toddler Needs A Speech Therapist

Imagine your child’s first words – a magical milestone in their development. From babbling to forming words, every child progresses at their own pace. But what if colors seem dull or progress is slow? Here, a speech therapist comes to play the role.

Parents and caregivers must understand their kids’ speech patterns, whether they are normal or if they need help. Because early detection leads to an easy way to prevent. Some signs include,

  • Hard to Understand Speech
  • Limited Vocabulary
  • Difficulty Following Directions
  • Stuttering
  • Mispronouncing Sounds or Words
  • Receptive Language Issues
  • Limited Use of Gestures

Let’s break down deeply with some examples so you can better determine when to consult a speech-language therapist.

1. If Your Child Is Not Meeting The Typical Speech Milestones

Speech and language milestones are like checkpoints in the early years of development. They range from cooing and babbling as a baby. It starts by saying single words around their first birthday. Then move on to simple sentences as they toddle into their twos and threes.

For example, if your child is not hitting the usual speech milestones, such as waving “bye-bye” without saying “bye,”

Falling behind on these important stages isn’t just about trying to catch up. You need to really figure out if there’s something blocking their ability to communicate effectively. It might just be a matter of waiting. If there’s a significant delay, a speech therapist can help develop a plan to support their development.

2. If Your Child Is Much Harder To Understand

child Is Much Harder To Understand

By the time your toddler hits around two years old, even strangers should be able to understand what they’re saying. If your child’s speech feels like it’s encrypted, it’s not just about clarity; it’s about ensuring they can connect and share with others.

Sure, toddler speech isn’t always crystal clear. If you’re constantly saying, “Huh?” it might be worth exploring further. Speech therapy can provide fun activities and focused practice to improve their communication skills.

3. If Your Toddler Uses Fewer Words Than Expected

By age two, many toddlers are budding linguists, throwing new words into their daily chat. Now, imagine if your toddler’s vocabulary is more like a limited edition—fewer words than you’d expect at their age.

It’s not only about the amount; it’s about providing them with a complete set to communicate their wants, needs, and thoughts. Speech therapists can work wonders here. They can use engaging activities and modeling techniques to encourage language growth. They ensure they’re not just listeners in their world but active participants.

4. Challenges With Processing Spoken Language

This may happen to you, such as when you ask your toddler to bring their shoes. Then they look at you like you’ve asked them to solve a complex math problem. This is not new. You may have given your kid simple tasks, but they can not solve them. Or even can not answer simple questions. Like “What is your name?”.

It’s important to understand instructions, follow directions, and comprehend the stories you tell. These are all key aspects of understanding language. When your toddler seems lost at these moments, it could indicate difficulty with receptive language.

This can be tough to fix at home. So consult a SLP. They will offer specific strategies to enhance understanding.

5. Getting Frustrated Because They Are Unable To Express

Your kid wants to tell a great story but not finding the words. For some toddlers, this is their daily reality. With full of thoughts and feelings they can’t yet express. They become frustrated and disheartened over this issue. When frustration becomes a frequent guest because they can’t share their world with you, it might be time to look for help.

Speech therapists are like translators in these scenarios. They help children find their voice through alternative communication methods. Ultimately this expands their vocabulary and builds their confidence in self-expression.

6. Withdrawal From Interactions

Social skills and language skills go hand in hand. When toddlers find it hard to communicate, they might start to pull back from playdates or family gatherings, because it feels too hard.

Imagine a situation where your child tends to be more reserved at social gatherings. This is not due to shyness, but because engaging in conversations seems overwhelming.

It’s essential to observe if they’re actively engaging with their peers or if they’re consistently on the sidelines. A speech therapist can provide social language strategies, like turn-taking, initiating conversation, and reading social cues. They will help kids feel more equipped and eager to jump into the fray.

7. If Your Child Has Difficulties With Fluency

Fluency issues, like stuttering, often become noticeable when children are piecing together longer sentences and more complex thoughts. It’s not just about the repetition of sounds or blocking. It’s about the flow of their thoughts into words. This can be particularly frustrating and may even cause anxiety about speaking up.

In such a situation, go to a speech therapist. They offer techniques to smooth out their speech patterns and reduce instances of stuttering. Your child can be more confident and develop their communication skills.


The journey of speech development is unique for every child. Some may start saying more words lately than you expect based on their age. Some may talk early with clear words. This is not a concern most of the time.

But if your child is two years old and still does not utter words clearly, or your toddler faces problems expressing themselves. Then, you should seek help from a speech consultation right now.

As parents and caregivers, you may get worried, but trust me, with the right support, your child can find their voice. All you need to understand the signs we already talked about. Do a bit more research online and be there for your baby.

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Emily Pham

Infant Teacher

My name is Emily and I am an infant teacher. My aim with this position is to learn how children develop as unique individuals and learn how to support their holistic growth. I am currently a student at San Francisco
State University majoring in Child and Adolescent Development. With this experience, I am hoping to get a sense on whether I want to continue to work in the classroom or if I want to learn the administrative side of education. The experience of working directly with children is gratifying and I wish to create a safe space for children to explore with all of their senses as they develop their own personalities. I hope to be able to help build a strong foundation so that the children can have the confidence and ability to express themselves.