Some 2-year-olds need extra help with their speech development.

Speech Therapy for 2-Year-Olds

by Stephen Maughan

You might worry that your 2-year-old boy isn't speaking properly or is lagging far behind his peers. According to psychologist G.C. Davenport, by the time children are 2 years old, they should have started to combine words into simple sentences such as "Me want milk" or "Car go." Some children naturally pick up speech and sounds, but others will need a little help and encouragement from you to help them along.


According to speech therapist and teacher Gill Thompson, language is developed through the understanding of words. Ensure that you always explain things to your child so she can engage in the language. Comment on what she is doing, such as "You are playing very well with the cars today." Do not assume your toddler does not understand you, or push them into speaking because they might not be ready. Children learn language and the meaning of words even if they're not yet speaking. Patience is needed with all children, particularly 2-year-olds.


Looking at pictures and photographs are always fun for 2-year-olds, especially if the pictures and photos are people and places they recognize. Speech therapist and teacher Thompson suggests that a good way to encourage your child's speech development is to look at pictures of family members and ask them who is in the picture. If they don't respond, you can tell them in a clear voice "Look -- Daddy" and then move onto the next picture, even if they still don't respond. You can also use the same trick with picture cards or drawings of everyday items such as a ball or car.


According to speech therapist and author Jill McMinn, a good way to install confidence in children with speech delays is not to tell your child they have said the word wrongly, but to respond in a positive way. So if she says "Look dog" pointing to a horse, then reply in a clear tone "Yes, a horse." Do the same for sounds. If she says "my phed" meaning her bed, don't correct her by saying "It's bed, not phed,, but instead reply, "Yes, your bed."

Other Issues

Speech delay is common among children, and your child probably can catch up. However, other reasons might explain why a 2-year-old has a speech delay, which needs to be confirmed by visiting a doctor or speech therapist. Don't be ashamed about going to the doctor for advice even if you feel it's just a minor speech delay.


  • Supporting Children with Communication Disorders; Gill Thompson MEd
  • Supporting Children with Speech and Language Impairment and Associated Difficulties; Jill McMinn
  • An Introduction to Child Development; G.C. Davenport
  • Kids Health: Delayed Speech or Language Development

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images