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Speech Therapy for Children & Toddlers

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What is Speech Therapy for Toddlers?

Speech therapy can help children of all ages and abilities communicate more effectively. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) support toddlers with speech delay and speech disorders, language disorders, and other communication challenges that impact their ability to share their wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings. A SLP can help you learn if your child’s speech development is on track.

speech therapy for toddlers


Typical Milestones in Speech and Language Development

While kids develop differently, and environmental factors will play a big part of speech development in children, you may want to consider consulting with a speech pathologist for children if your kid does not follow a typical language development timeline


Newborn - 1 Year

0-3 Months

Infants will startle in response to loud sounds and calm when they hear a familiar voice. They have different cries for different needs. Within the first three months of life, infants begin to make cooing sounds and smile.

4-6 Months

Babies begin to look in the direction of sounds they hear and can respond to changes in your tone of voice. They start to giggle and will babble different consonant sounds like “pa” or “da”.

7 – 12 Months

Babies will turn their heads toward sounds and start responding to their name. They will follow a point and start to understand familiar words (milk, dad, car). They will engage in social games like “peek a boo”. Babies this age will begin to string sounds to together (“babababa”) and will use gestures and sounds to get your attention. Around age one, they will start to use single words like “hi” and “Mama”. Sounds may not be clear yet.


If you notice that your baby is not meeting some of these communication and speech development milestones, you may want to book a speech therapy session to discuss your concerns.


1 - 2 Years

Between 12-18 months, children begin to use more single words and look toward you when they are talking. They start to point to body parts and familiar pictures of items in books. Around 18-24 months, children start combining 2 words together (“more milk”), ask simple questions (“what’s that?”), and follow simple directions (“roll the ball”).


If you have concerns about your child’s speech development or language skills, do not hesitate to reach out to a Speech Pathologist for support. It is never too early to begin speech therapy – if you suspect a speech delay, early intervention is key!


2 - 4 Years

By age 3, most children are using 2–3-word phrases and have more words in their vocabulary than we can count. They start to understand and use location words like “on” and “in”, and can follow simple 2 step directions like “get the cow and put him in the barn”. Around this age they can tell a short story about their day.


By age 4, strangers are typically able to understand most of what a child says (although some speech sound errors are still age appropriate at this time). At this age, children can ask and answer a variety of simple questions, can participate in conversations, and use adult-like grammar.


If you have concerns about a speech delay, speech disorder, or notice that your child is not meeting language milestones, a speech therapist can help identify areas to best support their communication skills during a speech therapy session!


Should Others Be Able to Understand my Toddler?

It can be typical for babies and young toddlers to use unclear speech. By age 3, we like to see children being understood about 75% of the time, and by age 4, nearly 100% of the time, even by unfamiliar people. The chart below may help you decide if your child may have a speech delay.


Child aged 1 = 1/4 or 25% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 2 = 2/4 or 50% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 3 = 3/4 or 75% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 4 = 4/4 or 100% intelligible to strangers

(Source: Flipsen, 2006)

online speech therapy for kids

What this means, is that, for example, a 2-year-old in conversation with an unfamiliar listener (distant relative, a pediatrician who sees the child twice a year) would only have 50% of what they say understood. 

This guide gives you another way to determine if your toddler’s speech is progressing typically, or if you should consider exploring speech therapy services. 


How to Know if Your Toddler Needs
Speech Therapy

Speech-Sound Disorders

Children with speech sound disorders often have difficulty being understood; They know what they want to say, but people cannot understand their words, which can lead to frustration.


If you notice your child is making errors that other children their age are not making, it may be helpful to work with a Speech Pathologist to determine what sounds they may need a little extra help with during speech therapy sessions.


Expressive Language

Expressive language refers to the ability to communicate wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas. Some children may have difficulty using new vocabulary, putting words together, and using age-appropriate grammar and/or sentence structure.


Receptive Language

Receptive language refers to understanding of language. Children who have difficulty with receptive language may struggle to understand vocabulary, follow directions, and answer questions.

Speech Therapists can also provide support of you have concerns around vocal quality, stuttering, social/play skill, and more.



Speech therapy for kids can be thought of as intensive speech and language practice, tailored to the specific speech disorder that your child has. Speech therapy for children differs from speech therapy for adults in practice, but the principle remains the same. The treatment for your child will depend heavily on the condition, but all treatments have two things in common: repetition and home practice. It takes practice to overcome each speech disorder, and constant repetition will be key to developing the proper speech habits in toddlers, kids, and adults alike. 

Pediatric speech therapy treatments include one-on-one sessions that focus on forming commonly mispronounced, interjected, or blocked sounds and words, which will address your child’s speech disorder directly. It is also a great idea to practice the methods taught by the SLP with your child in your spare time, as the more time spent addressing what you and your speech therapist are working on, the more likely your kid will be to overcome the disorder. 

In the long-term, overcoming a speech disorder can lead to less feelings of embarrassment and frustration, as well as a greater sense of confidence within your kid. Communicating with peers will be much easier, and can have a positive impact on both their personal and professional lives.

How Does Speech Therapy for Toddlers Help?

toddler speech therapy


How Does A Speech Therapist Evaluate A Toddler?

A speech therapist might evaluate a toddler in a few different ways and it depends on what the focus of the evaluation is. For example, if a child has been referred due to concerns about their language development and meeting certain language milestones, a speech therapist’s evaluation might look like this:

speech therapist for toddlers

An interview with the parent/caregiver: This interview may involve getting a background on the child, such as their developmental history. Some questions that might be asked may concern the child’s health history (i.e. Is there a history of chronic ear infections?), their birth history (i.e. Was the child premature/was there a low birth weight?), family history (i.e. Is there a history of language disorders within the family?)

Observation of the child: Some speech therapists might want to see the child in their natural environment. In a school/daycare setting, the speech therapist might observe the child interacting with their peers. With one-on-one therapy, they might observe how the child interacts with their parent/caregiver or even siblings if they are present.

A formal assessment: If concerns are raised for the speech therapist, they may follow up with a formal assessment that is norm-based.


When Should You Start Speech Therapy for a Toddler?

When it comes to your child and speech disorders, identifying problems early is crucial. The longer a kid continues with speech issues, the harder it will be to break these habits.


Ages 0-4 are arguably the most formative years when it comes to speech therapy in children, and consulting with a speech pathologist for children can help you confidently identify if your kid needs speech therapy during this formative time.

children's speech therapy

 Contact an online speech therapist today to discuss the best course of action for your child, and the proper treatment to overcome their specific speech disorder. 


How to Get Started with Toddler Speech Therapy



250+ Licensed and Experienced Therapists

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Our speech therapists are all licensed and certified, with ~10 years of experience. We cover every state in the USA. We offer speech therapy services for children and adults.

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Why Choose Better Speech?

No more "pediatric speech therapists near me" searches, and no more long drives to see a specialist. A speech therapist is ready to provide your kid with their first speech therapy session as early as tomorrow, and we have the most experienced and compassionate team in the industry. 

With over 150 online speech therapists ready to help your child, there is no waiting needed to get started.

Better Speech speech therapists have delivered thousands of online speech therapy sessions for children over their years of employment at Better Speech.

Each of our employees are state certified, and trained to handle the delicate situations that come with the frustrations from children enrolled in speech therapy. If you are looking for an online speech therapist that truly cares about your kid’s progress in speech therapy, you’ve found the right place!


How Do We Compare to Others?

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$69.95 /week

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You can use insurance, FSA/HSA, Medicare Advantage

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Early intervention is key. Avoid waitlist - start as early at tomorrow.



No need to commute in traffic or wait in waitrooms. Get therapy from home on your your phone or computer.

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$225 /session

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Get faster results with unlimited speech practices between sessions.



Equally effective as in-person therapy according to academic research


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I love the flexibility of the online schedule. Also with insurance, it was a fraction of the cost of a clinic, I wish I have tried Better Speech sooner. 




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