Hard to Understand Speech


If your toddler is talkative, but difficult to understand, don't worry. Most likely, it's not indicative of a speech issue.

It’s not uncommon for only family and caregivers to understand toddlers at first. But sometime between 26 and 36 months, a toddler’s speech should be more understandable.

By age 2, a stranger can understand about 50% of a child’s speech, but there is a wide range in what's considered normal development.

If, however, you or your childcare provider are increasingly concerned about your child’s development, talk with the healthcare provider. If the provider suggests that your toddler be assessed for language or other developmental delays, follow through to get this done.

An assessment will be tailored to your child’s age and area of concern. It will include detailed questions about your child’s growth and development, as well as tests for your child’s hearing, vision, play skills and other tasks.

What to Look for in Your Child’s Assessment

There are several key elements in a development assessment:

  • Parents should be involved at all times.
  • A team of experts who specialize in child development, as well as areas such as hearing, sight, and so on, should conduct the assessment.
  • Have your child evaluated in a number of different situations with different people. Children react to different situations in a variety of ways.
  • Remember, this should be something that helps, not hinders, your child and evaluates whether and where more help is needed!

An assessment recommendation can make parents feel guilty, nervous or afraid. Remember, this is only a tool to help you and your child’s doctor evaluate him.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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