36-48 Month Milestones in Speech and Language Development

Is your child aging out of the Early Intervention program? Questions about what to look for next in terms of speech and language development? Our speech-language pathologist Jessie Delos Reyes provides a helpful checklist for upcoming milestones and developmental red flags:

36-48 months of age

Receptive Language (what your child understands):

  • Understands 1,200-2000+ words
  • Hears and responds when you call them from another room
  • Follows simple commands if item is out of sight
  • Follows two- and three step directions
  • Understands words for some primary colors (i.e. can point to named colors)
  • Understands some simple shapes (circle, square)
  • Understands concepts (big/small, soft/hard, rough/smooth) when contrast is presented
  • Follows simple two- and three-step directions
  • Listens and understands longer stories

Expressive Language (how your child uses language to express himself and communicate needs and wants):

  • Uses 1,000-1,600+ words
  • Speech intelligibility is 90% or greater
  • Talks about activities at school or with friends
  • Talks about daily happenings using about four sentences at a time
  • Requests permission
  • Shares and ask for turns
  • Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, and “where?” questions
  • Asks “when” and “how” questions
  • Uses pronouns: I, you, me, we, they, us, hers, his, them
  • Uses plurals
  • Uses four or more words in a sentence
  • Labels parts of an object (wheels, steering wheel)
  • Begins to express feelings (sad, happy, frustrated)

Speech and language red flags:

  • Difficulty being understood by familiar and unfamiliar listeners
  • Consistently dropping beginnings or endings of words (“ike” for “bike,” “ca” for “cat”)
  • Difficulty producing three to four word phrases
  • Difficulty following two- and three-step directions and simple sequences
  • Inconsistently answering simple WH questions (who, what, when, where)
  • Difficulty stating wants and needs
  • Difficulty playing with others or a lack of interest in other children

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech and language development, call our office to schedule an evaluation with a speech language pathologist.

Jessie Delos Reyes, MA, CF-SLP

The Best Thing I have Learned During My Time at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc.

For over a year, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with the families that PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. serves and alongside the therapists that have also made helping children and families their life’s work. I have seen early words emerge. I have clapped alongside parents who were so proud of their child who just pointed out every single picture in a book. I have built towers, and forts, and racetracks. I have heard giggles and I have seen smiles. But most of all – I have learned right along with the kids and families I’ve been teaching!

Every child is different – no statement has ever been truer. Walking into each and every therapy session means coming prepared to adjust my plans to help that child meet communication goals. What is true and effective for one family might not prove effective for another – and that’s okay! As therapists, we are equipped to pivot and move forward. After appropriately implementing a therapeutic strategy with a family, we reconvene together to discuss its effectiveness. Have we seen progress? If not, what else can we try?

But there’s a big piece that we need help with, and it comes from… families! Parents are the experts on their child! Without parent expertise, we would be without the wealth of knowledge that comes from spending every day with the children we support. So that brings me to the most important thing I’ve learned during my time at PlayWorks –

Therapists and families form one big team!  Therapists are there to provide intervention, support, home programming, ideas, progress, and expertise. Families are there to provide fun, home practice, insight, and expertise!

It has been such a joy working with all of the families and therapists I’ve met during my time here. As I move on to my next adventure in Austin, Texas, I go with a smile on my face thinking of all the progress I’ve seen and fun I’ve had. Thank you to everyone at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., and thank you to the families for sometimes being our experts!

Leanne Sherred, MS, SLP-CF

Fall Family Fun!

Last fall, I brought my Goddaughter and her younger sister to an amazing apple orchard/pumpkin patch called All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock, Illinois. In addition to the apple orchard, All Seasons has a corn maze, tractor and pony rides, a petting zoo, a mini zip line, tube slides and multiple bouncy houses! It is about an hour outside of Chicago, but well worth the drive! Whether you make it out to All Seasons or find an apple orchard closer to the city, check out these awesome ways to support your child’s speech and language development on your fall outings:

Vocabulary: Label both the familiar and novel items you encounter on your outing, and talk about ways to describe the new objects (big/little, soft/hard, wet/dry, etc.). You can easily teach and reinforce animal names at the petting zoo; fruits, veggies and other food labels at the country store; parts of a tree in the apple orchard; etc. Use the object labels frequently to reinforce their meaning:

“Look! A big leaf. My leaf is red. What color is your leaf? My leaf feels crunchy.”

Following simple directions: Target two skills at once by giving your child a direction using familiar attributes, such as “Put one apple in the red basket” or “Give the little pumpkin to your brother.”

Increase expressive language: There are many fun and exciting activities at the apple orchard that will have your child communicating like you’ve never seen before! If you are working on sign language, encourage requesting ‘more’ or ‘help’ for picking more apples, going down the slide, or jumping in the bouncy house, for example. If you are working on simple one- to three-word phrases, expand on your child’s utterance by one word and encourage them to imitate your model:

Child: “More!” or “Go horsie!”

Adult model: “More slide!” or “Go on horsie!”

Basic concepts: Teach basic preschool concepts, such as colors, shapes, numbers, etc. by identifying objects throughout the orchard. A simple way to target these skills is by playing “I Spy…” Encourage your child to find what you label and help them come up with their own objects for you to find!

If you would like more information on All Seasons, you can check out their website: http://www.allseasonsorchard.com/

Happy Picking!

Autumn Smith, MS, CCC-SLP

Let’s Go, Go, Go! – Tips for Promoting Your Child’s Speech and Language Skills When You’re on the Run

By Autumn Smith, MS, CF-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

baby at grocery store

These days it seems like we all have jam-packed schedules and we’re constantly on the go with work, errands, or countless other small jobs on our ‘to-do’ lists. So it’s not uncommon for many on-the-go parents to find themselves in the following predicament: its 2:00pm, you have yet to go grocery shopping, pick up the kiddos from school, go to swimming lessons, make dinner, eat dinner, and get ready for the next day. So fitting 20- to 30-minutes of speech therapy practice into the mix shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Thankfully, there are numerous ways that you can incorporate your child’s speech and language goals into everyday routines. All are quick, simple, and (most importantly) fun ways to promote your child’s language development without having to add another item to your ever-growing ‘to-do’ list! Check out a few of my favorite activities to try when you’re on the go:

I Spy

‘I Spy’ is a great way to practice vocabulary and expressive language skills with your child. You can play practically anywhere – in the car, at the grocery store, or even getting ready for bed. Encourage your child to imitate objects after you say them or after the object has been found. If they are more advanced they can practice saying the phrase “I spy…” and then choose the object for you to find. If the phrase “I spy” is too difficult for them to say, you can modify the game to say “I see…”

Make a “Favorite Things” Book

Most cell phones now come equipped with cameras, so why not use them to take pictures of the things your child is most interested in to promote their vocabulary growth? Whether you are at the store, waiting to pick up older siblings from school, or on a walk, you can quickly snap photos of your child’s favorite things to print later and turn into a “Favorite Things” book. Your child will be extra motivated to ‘read’ their book at bedtime since they had a part in making it! If you do not want to print photos, try jotting down the items when you spot them with your child, and then let them draw or color pictures of their items once you are home.

Songs and Fingerplays

Listening and singing along to familiar songs is a wonderful way to promote language use! You can listen to the radio, children’s CD’s or even make up your own songs! Fingerplays are also fun to incorporate into your daily routines, as you all can play along with the songs as you sing. A few favorites are Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Wheels on the Bus. Once the songs become familiar to your child, you can pause at certain parts of the song to encourage them to fill in the blank (“Old MacDonald had a ___, E-I-E-I-___”). Don’t be afraid to be silly, either! The more you enjoy yourself, the more your child will have fun, too.

Keep Books on Hand

Small board books are great to keep in your car or purse so that you can use your downtime for reading. You do not have to read the story word for word, though–have fun and ‘play’ in the books by ‘popping’ bubbles, ‘eating’ food on the page, or making car/animal noises. This is a great way to encourage language development in the little ones who are not yet using words or phrases, too. Prompt your child to imitate the beginning sounds of basic items in the book, such as “b-b-ball” or “d-d-dog.” Check out the previous post on this blog for some suggestions of exciting books to promote speech and language development!

There’s No Need to Make Extra Time for FUN!

Whether you are running to the store or to school, the post-office or a play-date, you can incorporate fun and simple activities into your routine to target your child’s speech and language skills! Talking to your child and providing them with models of new words and phrases is one of the most important things you can do to support their language growth at a young age. Luckily we can incorporate talking into almost everything we do! So get ready to tackle that ‘to-do’ list, and feel confident that you are supporting your child’s speech and language development at the same time.