Speech Pathways

your path to clear communication

Home > Children's Service Areas > Language Development

Children's Service Areas Language Development

Children's Service Areas - Language Development

Language development has two parts: understanding words (receptive language) and speaking words (expressive language) according to a system of rules.

Receptive Language: A child who has difficulty understanding the meaning of words (vocabulary) and the rules for putting the words together (grammar) is said to have a receptive language delay. These children often have difficulty following directions and/or learning tasks.

Expressive Language: A child who has difficulty using appropriate words (vocabulary) and speaking these words in the correct order (grammar) is said to have an expressive language delay. These children often sound younger than their age.

Language Development Norms

18 months
Expressiveminimum 10 words
Receptiveapproximately 100 words
follows simple instructions
2 years
Expressiveapproximately 200 words
produces 2-3 word sentences
asks “what’s this, “where’s my”, questions
uses 2 word negative phrases (e.g., “no want”, “not go”)
Receptivefollows 2 step instructions
identifies body parts
3 years
Expressiveapproximately 1000 words in spoken vocabulary
conversational speech, sentence length 3-4 words
Receptivefollows 3 step instructions
answers “Who”, “Why”, “Where”, “How many” questions
4 years
Expressiveapproximately 1500 words
uses regular and irregular past-tense
uses contractions “it’s a” or “there’s a “
sentence length 4-5 words
uses the word “will” (future tense)
Receptiveidentifies primary colours
identifies basic shapes
follows instructions even though objects not present
5 years
Expressiveapproximately 2000 words
sentence length 5-6 words
uses all pronouns
Receptiveunderstands spatial relations “on top”, “behind”, “far”, “near”
understands common opposites

Some children do catch up without intervention; however, others will continue to fall further behind their peers. Once a child begins school, a language delay often results in academic difficulties. If you are concerned about your child’s language development, contact us for assessment and/or intervention.

(905) 302-0264

Speech Pathways is offering speech therapy in Brampton, Mississauga, Milton, Etobicoke, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Guelph, Cambridge, and Kitchener/Waterloo.