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Milestones in Speech Development: 18 months – 3 years

Speech development is a crucial aspect of a child’s growth and development. As parents, it is important to track your child’s speech milestones and encourage their development of language skills. Between 18 months and 3 years old, your child should be reaching specific speech milestones that will set them up for successful communication in the future.

A girl stack wooden letter blocks

At this stage, your child should begin to understand some spatial concepts, such as "in" or "on," which they may use to describe the location of objects. They should also be able to understand and use pronouns like "you," "me," or "her," and descriptive words such as "big" or "happy." Encourage your child’s vocabulary development by labeling objects around them and using descriptive words to describe things in their environment.

By this age, your child should be using 3-word sentences and their speech should be becoming more accurate, although they may still leave off the ending of a few sounds. By age 3, parents should be able to understand 90% of what their child says, but don't be alarmed if strangers have a bit more trouble. You can help your child improve their speech clarity by repeating what they say and adding the correct endings to their words.

Your child should also begin to answer simple questions and use plurals such as "shoes" or "socks" and regular past tense verbs, such as "jumped." You can encourage this development by asking open-ended questions and engaging your child in conversation. If you notice that your child is struggling to reach these milestones, it may be time to consult with a speech therapist who can work with your child to improve their language skills.


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