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Talking: What to expect

To help you understand whether there's a problem with your child's language development, here are simple guidelines for what children should be able to say at different ages:

  • A baby of about 18 months should be generally animated, using lots of sounds and simple words.

  • A two year old should use at least two words in a sentence, such as "car go" or "mommy purse."

  • A three year old should use three to five words in a well-formed sentence.

  • A four year old will use adult-like language most of the time.

  • And the average five year old should be able to tell a simple story.

If your child is behind in any of these stages, you may want to discuss this with your child's doctor or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

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