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Pediatric Speech and Language Development

Did you know that speech and language development starts developing even before birth? Infants' brains develop language neurons in utero, and the anatomy required for breathing, speaking, and eating starts to develop within the first trimester and continues throughout pregnancy.  

Speech and language development can be fostered and encouraged from an infants' early days and facilitated all throughout their childhood.  Here are just a few guidelines to help navigate what to look for throughout your child's early years.  

Child Playing
Stacking Blocks
Evals & Therapy

Early Language Milestones

Your child begins the fundamental building blocks of language early on in infancy, and continues throughout the first several years of life.  

3 months: 

- Quiets or smiles in response to sound or voice

- Turns head towards sound or voice

- Cries differently for different needs (e.g. hungry vs. tired) 

6 months: 

- Reacts to sudden noises or sounds

- Listens and responds when spoken to

- Begins to use consonant sounds in babbling, e.g. “da, da, da”

12 months: 

- Responds to simple directions, e.g. “Come here”

- Produces long strings of gibberish (jargoning) in social communication

- Says one or two words and imitates speech sounds 

18 months: 

- Responds to questions

- Repeats words overheard in conversation

- Continues to produce speech-like babbling 

24 months: 

- Begins to use 2 word phrases

- Uses simple pronouns (me, you, my)

- Understands action words 

- Follows 2-step related directions

- Enjoys listening to stories

36 months: 

- Asks “what” and “where” questions

- Uses plurals, e.g. “dogs”

- Most speech is understood by caregiver

- Simple understanding of concepts including color, space, time

Speech Sound Milestones

Speech sounds develop on a continuum, beginning in infancy and continuing throughout the preschool and early school years.  

*Taken from the 2020 McCleoud & Crowe Speech Acquisition data 

by 2 years: P, B, M, N, D, H

by 3 years: T, K, G, NG, F, Y

by 4 years: V, S, Z, SH, CH, J, L 

by 5 years: ZH, TH (Voiced), R 

by 6 years: TH (Voiceless) 

Speech Intelligibility is the terminology we use to describe how well your child is understood by others.  Speech intelligibility ratings vary depending on the listener, with more familiar listeners usually being able to understand more of what is spoken.  

*The following data is taken from Hustad ET AL., 2021

By 3 years: 24-48% of the time

By 4 years: 44-69% of the time 

By 5 years: 59-85% of the time

By 6 years: 68-92% of the time 

By 7 years: 73-95% of the time 

These numbers are to be taken with caution, as it always best to trust your intuition.  If there is concern about your child's speech development, or if you feel that it is not progressing as it should, please trust your intuition and seek an evaluation.  A trained Speech-Language Pathologist can provide valuable insight into your child's development and offer the most appropriate strategies and solutions.  

What We Treat

Late Talkers • Language Delays • Early Intervention
Articulation Disorders • Phonological Disorders • Motor Speech Disorders
Expressive & Receptive Language Disorders • Play & Social Communication Delays

Signs of a Delay/Disorde

Our Approach to Speech Therapy

West Valley's approach to speech therapy is 3-pronged:


We believe in the power of play

We are relationship-centered

We focus on your whole family

Children learn best when they are safe, supported, and motivated to try new, hard things. We take the time to build rapport with our clients by getting to know their interests and incorporating play into our sessions. Plus, we get parents involved throughout the therapy process to make sure that we are all working toward a common goal.

How We Can Help Your Child Communicate & Connect

Therapy sessions at West Valley Speech Therapy are fun, creative, and powerfully effective! We support your child's speech, language, and social development by building upon the foundation of three essential developmental skills: turn taking, joint attention, and the concept of cause and effect​. Our goal is to improve your child's ability to interact with others, understand words and routines, express their thoughts and feelings, develop all age-appropriate speech sounds, and communicate with confidence!

We use evidence-based therapy approaches and integrate proven methods learned from It Takes Two To Talk®, Learn with Less®, and a variety of Simon Says Orofacial Myology Treatment programs: Tongue Tips, Tiny Tongue Tips, and Thumps Up!

Therapy for Speech Delays and Disorders

Speech Delays & Disorders

Speech therapy will help your child:

  • Increase overall speech intelligibility

  • Use correct tongue, lip, and jaw placement and movement for speech production

  • Produce age-appropriate sounds correctly and use them in words and sentences 

  • Gain awareness and skills to self-correct sound errors

  • Build the confidence to communicate and connect!

Therapy for Language Delays and Disorders

Language Delays & Disorders

Language therapy will help your child:

  • Use and understand new words

  • Form longer sentences

  • Apply the rules of grammar

  • Communicate wants, needs, thoughts, opinions, and feelings

  • Ask and answer questions

  • Comprehend linguistic concepts

  • Interact more confidently with peers and adults

  • Experience academic success in tasks that involve listening, speaking, reading, and writing 

Early Intervention therapy services in Glendale, AZ

Early Intervention

Therapy for our youngest clients will help:

  • Improve play skills and increase meaningful interaction with others

  • Increase engagement in routines

  • Understand spoken words

  • Express their wants, needs, and intentions

  • Develop skills for speaking

  • Decreasing frustration and build confidence and motivation to communicate

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