What is pediatric Speech Therapy?

Communication skills develop in a baby before they have ever spoken their first word. Communication is critical to each of our daily interactions with each other. A speech or language problem is likely to have a significant effect on a child’s social and behavioral responses to the world.

Speech therapy focuses on several areas of development including expressive and receptive language, which is language that you can communicate verbally and language that you understand. Our therapists can identify and improve your child’s abilities in expressive and receptive language, functional communication skills, and feeding/swallowing issues.

They work to improve your child’s ability to use both verbal and non-verbal communication. Our therapists collaborate closely with children and their caregivers to determine the most effective methods to assist your child and develop an individualized treatment program to address these personalized speech therapy needs.

Speech therapy sessions may include but are not limited to the following treatment approaches: turn-taking through routines, language comprehension and literacy activities, training in alternative communication, strengthening exercises, encouraging speech through play and movement, and articulation practice.

Our therapists work together with a child and their family to address the following areas of concern:

  • Children needing alternative communication
  • Cleft palate or other craniofacial anomaly
  • Expressive and/or receptive language delays
  • Fluency/stuttering disorders
  • Apraxia of Speech
  • Delayed Milestones
  • Swallowing or feeding Difficulties
  • Hearing Loss
  • Picky Eating
  • Tongue Tie & Thrust
  • Motor-planning challenges, such Dysarthria
  • Phonological/articulation disorders
  • Passe Muir valve treatment
  • Rehabilitative intervention after injury resulting in communicative or cognitive deficits
  • Speech impacted by Cerebral Palsy & Down Syndrome
  • Executive Functioning
  • Voice Disturbances

What are speech and language milestones that my child should be meeting?

Birth to 3 months:
  • Startles to loud sounds (Should not continue after 2 months)
  • Quiets or smiles when spoken to
  • Seems to recognize your voice
  • Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound
  • Makes pleasure sounds such as cooing
  • Cries differently for different needs (hungry or uncomfortable)
  • Can establish and maintain and rhythmical suck/swallow pattern at the breast or bottle
  • Does not lose a significant amount of milk out of side of mouth during feeding
4-6 months of age:
  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Vocalizes in response to sound stimulation
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Pays attention to music
  • Babbling sounds during play are more speech-like with sounds, including p, b and m
  • Smiles and laughs
  • Vocalizes excitement and displeasure, other than crying
  • Can swallow early solids and purees
  • Can maintain face-to-face communication during feeding
7 -12 months of age:
  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds, including own name
  • Quiets and listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items like shoe or book
  • Begins to respond to simple questions (Would you like more?)
  • Babbling has more complex sound combinations
  • Participates in conversations by responding with vocalizations/turn taking
  • Uses speech or noncrying sounds to get attention
  • Uses signs or gestures to communicate
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Able to tolerate textures in foods and is starting finger foods
  • Can say “mama” and “dada”
1-2 years of age:
  • Points to body parts
  • Uses inflection during vocalizations
  • Experiments with language during play
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions
  • Listens to shorter stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Attempts to sing songs
  • Uses “no” meaningfully
  • Points to pictures in a book
  • Says more words every month
  • Repeats words
  • Imitates animal or environmental sounds
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions (“Go bye-bye?”)
  • Puts two words together to form short sentences or communicate needs (“more cookie”)
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words
  • Imitates 3-4 word phrases
  • Has 50-100 words by age 2
2-3 years of age:
  • Understands differences in meaning (go-stop, up-down)
  • Follows two step requests (“Get the book and put it on the table”)
  • Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time
  • Uses two- or three- word sentences consistently
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners
  • Asks “why?”
  • Can sing phrases of songs
  • Can clearly articulate most words
  • Responds to questions when asked different things
  • Uses plurals, even if not always accurate
  • At age 3, has vocabulary of >200 words
3-4 years of age:
  • Hears you when you call from another room
  • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members
  • Understands words for colors and shapes
  • Understands words for family members
  • Talks about what happened during the day.
  • Uses about 4 sentences at a time.
  • People outside of the family usually understand child’s speech
  • Answers simple who, what, and where questions
  • Asks when and how questions
  • Says simple rhyming words
  • Uses pronouns like I, you, me, we, and they
  • Uses plural words more accurately
  • Uses sentences that have 4 or more words
  • Talks easily without repeating syllables or words
4-5 years of age:
  • Understands words for order, like first, next, and last
  • Understands words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
  • Follows longer, multiple step directions
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
  • Says all speech sounds in words. Some sounds that are harder to say still may be: l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th
  • Talks without repeating sounds or words most of the time
  • Names letters and numbers
  • Tells a short story
  • Keeps a conversation going


At Chicago Pediatric Therapy we offer numerous resources to help parents and their children. We have several blogs readily available that give parents tips, tricks, facts and milestones. Check out a couple of our most popular Speech Therapy blogs.

Contact us

If you are ready to discuss physical, occupational, speech or behavioral therapy options for your child and are interested in learning more about teletherapy services, call us today at 773-672-7775 or email us at info@cptwc.com for more information or to schedule an assessment.