April 24, 2017

  Better Speech and Hearing Month | When to get help from SLP


I am truly honoured to be featured as a Guest Blogger on the One Stop Kid Shop Blog! My name is Maegan Mason and I am a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) working and living in Regina. Myself, and my three other SLP colleagues, provide private services to Southern Saskatchewan through our business, Beyond Words Speech-Language Consultants. Each year, SLPs (and Audiologists too) dedicate the month of May to raising public awareness about communication health for “Better Speech and Hearing Month.” We work to highlight the importance of early detection and intervention in the treatment of communication disorders, and the role we play in helping people to “Speak well. Hear well. Live well.”

Speech-Language Pathologists are professionals who have expertise in typical development and disorders of communication and swallowing. We work with individuals of any age to screen, assess, identify, and treat speech, language, voice, fluency (“stuttering”), swallowing, and feeding problems. You can find us working within schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and in private practice. As a SLP, I am extremely passionate about helping people, both young and old, to achieve their full communication potential, and I know most SLPs feel the same!


I want to take this opportunity to share some speech and language milestones in childhood and discuss how SLPs can help when a child isn’t developing “according to schedule.” Many parents who reach out to us are unsure about their child’s speech and language development and often just need guidance to know if their child is on track or if help from a SLP is needed. In general, there are various speech and language skills SLPs look for at different points throughout childhood to determine the presence of a delay or disorder. The following information is presented to serve as a GUIDELINE for speech and language milestones by the age of five.

Speech & Language Milestones in the First Five Years

By 6 months of age:

  • Makes different types of cries and/or sounds
  • Enjoys games like “Peek-a-boo”
  • Responds to music/toys that make noise
  • Smiles and laughs in response to your smiles and laughs

By 12 months of age:

  • Waves hi/bye
  • Babbles with different sounds and intonation (6-11 months of age) and eventually uses real-words (e.g., “mama,” “dada,” “puppy”) around one year of age
  • Begins to follow simple one-step directions (e.g., “get the ball”)
  • Responds to his/her name

By 18 months of age:

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of a MINIMUM of 10 meaningful words they use consistently
  • Responds with words/gestures when asked simple questions
  • Points to body parts on themselves and others
  • Understands concepts of “in,” “out,” “on,” and “off”

By two years of age:

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of a MINIMUM of 50 meaningful words used consistently
  • Combines two (or more) words to form small phrases (e.g., “more bubbles” or “mommy go”)
  • Names familiar pictures and fills in parts of well-known stories
  • Follows two-step directions (e.g., “go get your teddy and put it in the box”)

By three years of age:

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of at least 500 words
  • Combines three (or more) words to form small phrases and sentences (e.g., “my blue ball”)
  • Follows three-step directions (e.g., “Get your socks, sit on the floor, and put them on”)
  • Parents should understand 75-100% of child’s speech
    • Should have the following sounds: m, p, b, w, t, d, n, h, k, g, f, s, vowels, y as in “yes”, and ing as in “sing”
    • Should produce sounds at the beginning and ends of the words

By four years of age:

  • Talks in sentences with adult-like grammar
  • Answers a variety of question types (e.g., who, where, why, how, etc.)
  • Tells a story with events in the correct order
  • All listeners should understand 100% of child’s speech
    • Should have the following sounds (in addition to three-year-old sounds): l, z, v
    • Should product consonant combinations (e.g., SP in “spoon” or ST as in “stop”)

By five years of age:

  • Participates in and understands conversations fully
  • Makes up rhymes
  • Listens to and retells a story and asks/answers questions about a story
  • Produces most speech sounds correctly and is easily understood all of the time
    • May continue to have difficulty with a lisp (tongue sticking out through teeth) on the following sounds: s, z, sh, ch, or j
    • May have difficulty saying the following sounds: l, r, or th.

Speech-language and Audiology Canada (SAC), 2017

After reading these speech and language milestones, if you feel your child is not on track with his/her development, it is best to see a Registered SLP for a consultation or assessment. A SLP can determine if your child’s communication skills are developing appropriately and, if necessary, can provide suggestions and/or intervention to target any areas of delay. During an assessment, a SLP will collect information from you about your child, and will work with him/her directly to observe various communication skills. Intervention services depend on the type and severity of the need(s) and can involve the SLP working directly with your child and/or providing consultation for the parents to help their children. If you have concerns, please seek assistance from a SLP. Too often parents are encouraged to “wait and see,” which leads to missed opportunities for providing intervention early. The EARLIER you get help, the BETTER!


At Beyond Words Speech-Language Consultants, we offer private services to individuals of all ages and for many communication needs. Many families choose to access private SLP services to start sooner than what is typically available through the public sector. Additionally, private services can offer more frequent and/or longer sessions than what may be available publicly. All of our services are eligible for private health insurance reimbursement if your family has coverage. We firmly believe early intervention is critical during childhood; don’t “wait and see” when it comes to your child. If you have a speech, language, fluency (“stuttering”), assistive communication technology, or developmental disability concern, please contact us to learn about our available services! We are reachable by phone (306-757-9959) or by email () and are ready to help! Lastly, the team at Beyond Words is celebrating “Better Speech and Hearing Month” by offering free information seminars and free 15-minute consultations; please refer to the OSKS Events Calendar, or the Beyond Words Speech-Language Consultants listing for details.



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