This post may contain affiliate links, which means I'll receive a commission if you purchase through my link at no additional cost. You can read my full disclosure here.
It’s not like it’s evident that your child has a speech delay. Since it’s a range of how your child is supposed to do at certain ages. If you are a new parent, you might not even know your 2 year old speech might be delayed. Sometimes, the only way that you can tell that your child’s speech is delayed is if your pediatrician points it out. Also, you had it as a child, or you notice that socially your child isn’t speaking.
When it came to my son, I detected this delay because, as a child, I also had a speech delay. I was much older than my son was, and because of the stories that my parents would tell me, I could easily detect these in my child. I know this is not the same for others.
The global pandemic has played a role in developing children who were born in late 2019 through all of 2020. You can read more about it in this article from the National Institutes of Health or NIH by clicking here.
This post is about 2 year old speech.
Discovering 2 Year Old Speech Delay
During the 12-month checkup with the pediatrician, our son’s doctor asked us a series of questions regarding what our son was saying and not saying. At 12 months, your child should be saying simple words like, “Mama, Dada, Cup, Up, Milk,” etc.
Our son was not saying anything. He would make a grunting sound when he wanted us to do something. It then clicked that my parents said that I did the same thing when I was his age. It made me realize that he too might have a delay.
Since my son was also walking very well, whenever he wanted us to do something, he would pull us to where my toddler wanted us to go and “grunt” when he wanted something. For example, if my son wanted his cup for some water, he would pull me to his cup and motion that he wished to the cup. If there wasn’t any water in the cup, he would motion to add water to the cup.
During this time, the pediatrician wanted to wait until his 18-month checkup to make sure that it was really a delay or just a delayed start to speech. Since everything is a spectrum for development, waiting a few extra months can be the difference between letting it happen naturally or being proactive in catching it early.
From 12 months to 18 months, his speech was still progressing slower than expected. By the 18-month appointment, we proceeded with getting our son evaluated.
Evaluation and Next Steps
After researching several places, we found Reach for the Stars Pediatric Speech-Language-Feeding Therapy, which offered both speech and occupational therapy since both can go hand in hand when your child is little. The team evaluated our toddler and confirmed that speech therapy was needed. Once we moved to the Greater Philadelphia area, we started going to Balanced Child Pediatric Therapy, similar in techniques and philosophy.
The initial evaluation was to get a baseline of what my toddler was saying and not saying. Everything is based on a spectrum. Our son didn’t demonstrate having Autism or being on the range for that, but you can and should ask about that if you feel your child is exhibiting those signs. Since our toddler was under two, the evaluation was “play” based to keep the toddler engaged.
My husband and I were given a report from the evaluation. We could keep it, which would also be submitted to our insurance. Typically, if your child needs therapy, your insurance will cover most of it so that you only must come out of pocket with a co-pay at most. If you are using the state, usually that is free.
Best Toys Used for Speech
It’s been over six months since my toddler has started speech therapy, and there have been massive improvements. After each session, we are given homework on what we should be doing at home to help with the lessons from therapy, and many of the assignments include getting toys designed to help with speech. Our speech therapists have recommended the list below, and you can get them from most stores or online.
From: Amazon, $15
From: Amazon, $40
From Amazon, $93
From: Amazon, $13
Home Exercises to Practice 2 year old speech
Getting suitable toys for your child’s speech and be expensive depending on how bad the delay is, so there are things that you can do without buying toys that can help with your child’s speech. Speech like everything is a spectrum, and after talking with your therapist to determine where your child falls on the spectrum, they will advise on what you can do to help enhance the practice at home.
One of my favorite exercises with my toddler is singing and clapping. When you sing and clap on beat, it allows them to know when they are supposed to say something, and because of the repetition helps them remember for the next time.
Reading books is another great way of getting your child’s speech to pick up. Books that are “pop-ups” or “touch and feel” books are best because they are interactive and allow you to read the book to them in different ways, allowing for great learning. Here are a few great books to get you started.
Use simple words. With young toddlers forming whole sentences is not possible, so starting off slow with simple words can help develop language. When you think of simple words, think of “up,” “down,” “yes,” “no,” etc. These are straightforward ways for your toddler to learn the words’ context so your toddler can use them correctly when you introduce them.
Traveling to Different Places
Travel is another great way to help with speech delays. By going to a destination in person, your toddler can associate physical things to words your child is learning. For example, “lion” is a popular word used in books. Seeing a “lion” in person helps with the word’s association and puts a memory to it. That develops good memories and feelings about it.
Places like airports, trains, buses, and other modes of transportation also play a role in helping to develop speech. With core memories starting to create when you’re a toddler, these are fundamental ways of enhancing vocabulary with your toddler.
Going to places frequently like daycare, a parent’s house, or a playground trip into this method of speech as well. While at these places, you can point to different items and work on word association with the toddler. Not only is it fun for them, but it’s also a great bonding experience for you and your child, which is always what it’s about.
If you believe that your child has any delay, it’s essential to talk with your pediatrician. If you still have concerns, you can always reach out and get a second opinion. Sometimes toddlers just need a little extra help. Knowing where to start can be the key to getting the results you are looking for and helping them grow into happy and healthy little people. If your child is under two and you want to start early with speech, click here to read this post.