The Signs of Speech and Language Disorders in Children

In this first week of Better Hearing and Speech Month, we are exploring pediatric speech and language development and disorders - and what you as a parent or provider can do about them. First, let's look at the signs, as the early stages of communication disorders are easier to spot when you know the signs. 

Signs of a Language Disorder

  • Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
  • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)

Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)

Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency)

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (2.5-3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds of words—”b-b-b-ball” for “ball” (2.5-3 years)
  • Pauses a lot while talking (2.5-3 years)
  • Stretches sounds out—”f-f-f-f-farm” for “farm” (2.5-3 years)

Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

Information and image courtesy of

Call Sound at 415-580-7604 or email us at if you have questions about the signs of a communication disorder!