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Delayed Speech: What Age is Normal?

Your baby or toddler is the center of your world. You want to ensure he or she is developing normally. If they’re not using as many words as other children their age, you may be concerned. If you’ve mentioned it to others, they may relate stories of relatives and friends who also had “late bloomers” in learning to talk. Individual differences in development mean that every child won’t be saying “mama” at 12 months. But what’s normal, and what’s not? 

Our professional pediatric speech pathologist at Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy in Charlotte, North Carolina, can determine whether your toddler has a speech delay or is at risk of one. If our therapist diagnoses a speech delay, your child is in expert hands. Speech therapy can help children move forward in language development to reach their full potential. 

General developmental milestones 

These are general milestones in normal language development. If you see noticeable deviations from these markers, having your child’s speech development assessed can provide  answers to your questions and concerns. 


By two months, your infant makes cooing or other sounds, and, as the months progress, increasingly makes babbling sounds. Between 12 and 18 months, your baby should be using simple words like “mama” or “car.” 

2 years old 

By 24 months, your baby should have a range of about 25 to 50 simple words like “milk.” By 24  to 30 months, toddlers normally use two-word “sentences” like “want cookie.” Your 2-year-old should be able to identify his or your eyes, nose, and ears when asked and 

pick out basic objects in a book or in person (the cat, the cow, the chicken). 

3 years old 

A toddler’s vocabulary grows exponentially in the year between 2 and 3; they know about 1,000 words by age 3 — too many to count. If your child isn’t using new words as the months go by, she may have a speech delay As the parent, you can easily understand what your 3-year-old is saying. 

At 3, basic noun-verb sentence structure is evident, and a toddler can string three- and four-word sentences together. A 3-year-old can sing a simple song, like “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” along with you and say a nursery rhyme. They can call other children and adults by name, ask understandable questions, and form plurals. When they see two or more dogs, they can say “dogs” or “doggies” instead of “dog.” 

Working with speech delay

If your 3-year-old can understand you when you ask him to do something but doesn’t use words often and isn’t using new words frequently, she could have a speech delay. Our pediatric speech therapist at Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy gets to the root of your child’s speech issue. 

Our therapist determines how much your child comprehends (receptive language) and how much your child can vocalize (expressive language). She evaluates how your child is progressing in sound development and how clear and understandable she is when talking. She examines how your child’s mouth, tongue, and palate operate together when talking.

Call or send a private message to Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy today for a private consultation so your child can receive the pediatric therapy needed to help her reach her potential.

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