Language is the how a person is able to understand and express messages when communicating. These skills include forming messages, answering questions, and following directions. Language can be both verbal (using spoken words; e.g., "car") and non-verbal (e.g., pointing, gestures, body language).
One common reason for referral to a speech-language pathologist is that a child is not yet using words or is not growing their single word vocabulary quickly. As a general guideline, children typically say their first word between 12-15 months and have approximately 30 words by 18 months of age. Secondly, many children are referred to a speech-language pathologist as they are not using age-appropriate grammar (e.g., I running, two cookies, The boy jump, I no like carrots).
Other areas to watch for:
Following one-step directions at 1 year; 2-step directions at 2 years; and 3-step directions at 3 years
Answering choice and yes-no questions between 1-2 years of age
Answering "wh" questions between 2-3 years of age (at this age: 'what' and 'where' questions)
Note: vocabulary related to numbers, colours and letters comes after other vocabulary has developed related to common objects (e.g., food, clothing), action words, people in their life, location words (e.g., up, in), etc
A comprehensive assessment by a speech-language pathologist helps to determine your child's skills in many areas of language as well as foundational skills that come even before a child is using words. This profile then helps to provide individualized intervention to help support your individual child!
Do you have questions or concerns about your child's language? We are always happy to chat via phone or email to answer any of your questions or to book an initial assessment for your child. Find contact information here.