Two-Year-Old Speech and Language Milestones
So much happens in the first two years of your child’s life. We know that all children grow and develop at different rates, but we also know there are some milestones that we expect most 2-year-olds to meet before their third birthday. Using the five milestones below, we’ll review the speech and language milestones you’ll see in your child’s second year.
1. An increase in expressive vocabulary.
At this age, your child is adding new words to his/her vocabulary all the time. At 2 years old, a toddler may say around 200 words!! As a general rule, if your child has less than 50 words as they approach their third birthday, they may benefit from a boost through speech therapy. In addition, notice whether your child uses different types of words his/her vocabulary. For example, nouns (e.g. ball, duck, car), actions (e.g. go, eat, walk), pronouns and basic concepts would comprise a well-rounded variety of words.
2. An ability to combine words.
Examples of phrases we often see at age two are “more milk,” “no cookie,” “mama go” and “dada up.” In order for toddlers to combine words, they must have a solid number of words AND a variety of words. If the child has 100 nouns, for example, it will be more difficult for him/her to combine words.
3. 50% Speech intelligibility.
Two-year-olds are approximately 50% intelligible to unfamiliar listeners. Intelligibility refers to the amount of your child’s speech a listener can understand. It’s very common for 2-year-olds to make speech sound errors (often called developmental errors). For example, a child may say “wuv” when meaning to say “love.” As a rule of thumb, friends and family should understand at least half of what your child says at age two.
4. Growth in receptive language.
Receptive language refers to your child’s ability to understand the spoken language of others. One sign of an increase in receptive language is a child’s ability to point to objects and pictures when named. When reading a book with your two-year old, they will be able to point to objects and pictures when named. They are also able to follow directions (as we know, this doesn’t mean that they always will). At 2 years old, children can follow one-step directions consistently (i.e. “get your shoes), as well as follow simple two-step related directions (i.e. “get your shoes and go to the door”).
5. Greater interest in socialization.
At this age, children typically engage in parallel play, but before their third birthday they will begin to show a greater interest in socializing with others. 2-year-olds enjoy participating in playgroups and classes. They may not know how to share or take turns, but they will imitate adults and older children so be sure to model these skills for them.
If your child has a smaller vocabulary or they are not able to follow directions consistently, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she needs help. It’s important to look at ALL of the above milestones to determine if your child is on the right track.
Research has shown that early detection of communication disorders plays a major role in shorter treatment plans and faster recovery! If you have questions about your 2-year-old’s speech and language development, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!
TherapyWorks provides pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapies in-home or via teletherapy.