Normal Speech Development
A child’s speech begins with early vocalizations at 2 or 3 months, followed by babbling (playful, vocal sound) around 5-7 months, and then jargon (strings of sounds or syllables produced with a variety of stress and intonation) from 8-24 months. By 12 months, the child is starting to string the sounds together to form their first true words.
Speech intelligibility refers to how much speech one is able to understand. There is a wide range of normal, but typically a child’s intelligibility falls within these percentages:
- At 2 years of age, a child’s speech is usually 50% intelligible
- At 3 years of age, a child’s speech is usually 75% intelligible
- At 4 years of age, a child’s speech is 90% intelligible, though a few articulation errors may be continue to be present.
Just like any other area of development, children develop speech abilities at different rates. Some children acquire a wide variety of speech sounds early on and are easy to understand from an early age. Other children take longer to acquire their sound system and their speech can be difficult to understand. If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech development, contact his/her physician and discuss the need for a speech evaluation with a certified speech-language pathologist.
A comprehensive speech and language evaluation may be scheduled with the Arkansas Children's Hospital Outpatient Speech Pathology Department by contacting the Appointment Center at 501-364-4000.