As your child grows from a newborn to a toddler, there are certain milestones he’ll meet along the way that will excite you and make you see just how smart he is every single day. One area of development that is crucial to monitor is in the area of language because the first three years of life are when language and speech develop the most, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. If your toddler isn’t meeting the recommended milestones, it may be necessary to seek out a treatment from a speech-language pathologist.
Receptive Language Skills
Receptive language skills are those that indicate how well your toddler understands what you say to her. By age 3, your toddler is beginning to understand the differences in opposite words such as “little” and “big” or “stop” and “go,” the meaning of negation words such as “no,” and the meaning of the words “where” and “what.” She also understands simple two-step directions, such as, “Put on your socks, and then put on your shoes.”
Expressive Language Skills
Expressive language skills refer to your toddler’s ability to communicate his feelings, ideas and thoughts in understandable language. He asks for things using two or three words and uses “yes” and “no” to answer questions that you ask him. His vocabulary includes about 150 words, according to Sixty Second Parent, and he can describe items with words such as “hot,” “cold,” “big” or “little.” Your 3-year-old is also using the past tense and pronouns such as “I” and “he.”
Your 3-year-old’s speech skills continue to improve, although she still may leave off the ends of words and mispronounce some consonants. This may make it difficult for others to understand her, even if you are accustomed to hearing her speech. According to Sixty Second Parent, you should be able to understand approximately 75 percent to 90 percent of your child’s speech. Look for your child to master some of the more difficult consonants such as g, t, n and k.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association does point out that the milestones are guidelines and not meeting every single one of them doesn’t mean that your child has a language disorder. Your child will most likely develop these skills shortly. If, for any reason, you feel that there is a cause for concern with your toddler’s language development, it is best to get an evaluation. Language disorders should receive attention early to ensure that your child receives therapy if necessary to get on track with developmental skills.