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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


I have a 4 year old boy, and I am worried about his speech/language develoment. How do I go about getting him tested? What is "normal speech" for a 4 year old?
    

There is a wide range of normal for speech development, so it is best that you consult with your child's pediatrician to see if your son falls within the range of normal. He/she may evaluate the child, or refer you to professionals who specialize in speech and language evaluation.

Remember:

  • Girls seem to develop the ability to communicate earlier than boys.
  • Language can develop smoothly and continuously, or in jumps and spurts.
  • Because the development of speech varies, it is important not to compare your child’s language development to other children’s language development.

Most experts agree that by four years of age, most children can:

  • Follow 3 related directions such as "get your crayons, make a picture and give it to the baby"
  • Speaks sounds accurately except perhaps for eg. l, r, s, k, th, ch, sh
  • Answers questions such as "What do you do when you are sleepy/thirsty?" or "What should you do if you hurt yourself?"
  • Describes objects and events
  • Can show you "top", "bottom", and several colors
  • Can give meanings of words

Warning signs that your child may have a speech problem include:

  • Does your child not use complete sentences?
  • Does your child stutter?
  • Does your child not seem to be able to follow directions?
  • Does your child have problems hearing?
  • Do strangers understand what your child is saying?
  • Can your child make his wishes know without talking?

Since your motherly intuition says that there may be something wrong with your son's speech, we suggest that you see your pediatrician and ask for a referral to a speech pathologist in your area.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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