During my long carreer as an elementary educator, I was frequently asked by concerned parents about how to spot problems in their child's language development and "what are the signs?". While all children develop at different rates, there are certain milestones and stumbling blocks over defined time periods that I look for and could signal a problem.
At these various stages below, if you observe similar behavior in your child's speech and communication, please discuss them with your pediatrician. If a problem does exist, getting the proper regimens and tutoring in place early will help them overcome these early challenges of language development.
At ages 3-4
Speaks in single words rather than phrases or sentences
Appears unable to incorporate new words into active vocabulary.
Repeats parts of your questions rather than answer them
Seems unable to point to things in picture books.
Struggles with simple directions or understanding location words such as over, under, in front of, behind, beside.
Confuses pronouns, like her and she
At ages 5-6:
Grossly mispronounces words
Speaks like a toddler
Struggles with finding words to express thoughts and wishes
Seems unable to follow or remember 3 step directions
Seems unable to retell a familiar story or describe experiences
The following should be used as a guideline for the amount of words a child has in his/her vocabulary: