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Speech and language skills develop quickly during the early years of a child’s life, especially in the first 3 years of life. These skills progress at slightly different rates for every child. However, language usually follows natural stages or milestones based on a child’s age.
At 3 to 4 years, your child should be able to:
In some cases, children with illnesses may reach milestones later than usual. This may be due to change in their environment, routine, or social interactions. Or, the illness or treatment might harm hearing, learning, and processing skills.
Your child may have a speech or language problem if they have:
Hearing loss can slow or prevent the development of language and speech. Look for signs that your child’s hearing is developing normally. If your child can hear, they usually will:
Pay attention to ear problems and infections, especially when they happen often. Contact your doctor if you have questions. Your doctor may refer you to an audiologist to have your child's hearing tested. An audiologist is a health care provider who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing problems. If your audiologist says your child needs a hearing aid, your child must use it to help their language and speech skills.
Find more information on Audiology and Hearing Care.
If your child has problems with speech or language, your care provider may recommend speech therapy.
A speech therapist or speech-language pathologist is a care provider who can help your child with speech and language problems. A speech therapist or pathologist models correct sounds and syllables for your child. They also give ideas and homework for you and your child to do at home. This provider may also recommend additional tests or testing to better develop a plan for your child.
Your provider may refer your child to an audiologist to have your child's hearing tested. If your audiologist says that your child needs a hearing aid, they must use one. Poor hearing can slow down their learning and language skills and hurt their social skills.
Reviewed: August 2022