Signs to Look For

If you have any question at all regarding your child’s speech or language development, it is almost always best to pursue a professional opinion. Once a communication disorder has been detected, therapy should begin as early as possible.

Children enrolled in therapy early in their development tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later. Unfortunately, many parents are given misguided assurances from well-meaning friends and family that their child will “outgrow” their difficulty or delay. As a parent, you need to trust your instincts.

Consult a Speech Pathologist if your child:

By 15 months

  • doesn't understand and respond to words like "no" and "up"
  • says no words
  • doesn't point to objects or pictures when asked “Where’s the...?
  • doesn’t point to things of interest as if to say “Look at that!” and then look right at you
  • By 18 months

  • doesn’t understand simple commands like "Don't touch"
  • isn’t using at least 20 single words like "Mommy" or "up"
  • doesn’t respond with a word or gesture to a question such as “What’s that? or “Where’s your shoe?”
  • can’t point to two or three major body parts such as head, nose, eyes, feet
  • By 24 months

  • says fewer than 100 words
  • isn’t consistently joining two words together like "Daddy go" or “ shoes on”
  • doesn’t imitate actions or words
  • doesn’t pretend with toys, such as feeding doll or making toy man drive toy car
  • By 30 months

  • says fewer than 300 words
  • isn’t using action words like “run”, “eat”, “fall”
  • isn’t using some adult grammar, such as “two babies” and “doggie sleeping”
  • 3-4 years

  • doesn’t ask questions by 3 years
  • isn’t using sentences (e.g., "I don't want that" or "My truck is broken") by three years
  • isn’t able to tell a simple story by four or five years
  • If you’ve noticed one or more of these warning signs in your child, it’s important that you take action right away to ensure your child is seen by a speech pathologist. Early intervention is vital!

    Reference: The Hanen Centre. (2011). When Should you Seek Help? [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from