When to Worry About Your Child’s Speech and Language Skills

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By Tiffany J Erler, MS CCC-SLP and Nicole Felt, MS CCC-SLP July 26, 2018

As pediatric speech-language pathologists, we are often asked by parents “Should I be worried that my child’s speech isn’t clear?” or “Should I be concerned that my child isn’t talking yet?”. There is no easy answer for this question because speech and language development and milestones vary significantly by age. When faced with a worried parent, we often ask questions about how the child is communicating (e.g., asking for things, pointing out interesting objects), eating and drinking, and even playing. This is because speech and language development isn’t just about talking. We use the same systems in our body to produce speech as we use to breathe and eat. Play is an essential part of learning language. If there is a delay or difference in these areas, there is most likely a delay or difference in a child’s speech and language skills.

 That being said, there are specific milestones parents can look for in their child’s speech and language. In the chart below, we have outlined some skills your child should be demonstrating at certain ages. Take a look and if you have concerns,  click here to register for a FREE Speech Consultation from Budding Voices, LLC.


Budding Voices, LLC belives that every child deserves an opportunity to unlock his or her voice. Our mission is to provide individualized therapy to each client. We strive to include the whole family in our treatment approach. 

Tiffany Erler, MS, CCC-SLP  ~ Tiffany is our founder and CEO. After receiving her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola College in Maryland in 2007, she completed a clinical fellowship year at the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Tiffany remained on staff at CARD through 2010. She participated in multi-disciplinary teams focused on identifying children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and providing individualized treatment. She then lived and worked in Sydney Australia for 4 years. During her time there, Tiffany continued to work with children with ASD at the largest Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and early intervention centre in the country. Tiffany's areas of expertise and special interests include autism spectrum disorders, apraxia, and augmentative-alternative communication. Tiffany is trained in PECS, PROMPT, and ABA. She has treated children of all ages with a wide variety of abilities and diagnoses. Tiffany is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and holds a MD License. She received an ACE award in 2017 for her commitment to lifelong learning by earning over 70 hours of continuing education. 

Nicole Felt, MS, CCC-SLP  ~ Nicole earned her Bachelor’s degree from American University in psychology and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. For five years, Nicole worked as a private therapist with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental delays and was trained in both Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Floortime therapies. She also worked at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC as a research coordinator studying children with feeding disorders. After receiving her Masters in 2014, Nicole worked in private clinics in Washington, DC and Maryland providing speech-language therapy for children ranging from 2 to 16 years. Nicole’s areas of expertise and special interests include articulation delays and disorders, autism spectrum disorders, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and overall expressive and receptive language difficulties. Nicole is trained in ABA and the SOS Approach to Feeding. 

On a more personal note, Nicole grew up in Bloomington, MN. She’s now lives in Arnold, MD with her husband and three kids. She enjoys spending time with family, as well as cooking, reading, and playing tennis.