Ask a Speech Therapist! Help - I don't understand what my child is saying.

Through the power that is social media, we’ve gathered all of our most asked questions from providers, parents, teachers, and all other professionals and put our speech therapist, Nicole, to work. We’ll feature a question each week this month to help answer some of your hard hitting speech and language questions!

Q: My child is talking a bunch, but I don’t understand what they’re saying, HELP!

Intelligibility (the percentage of your little one’s speech that is understandable) can vary greatly from kid to kid. There are a few hallmarks that we look for as speech therapists. With a grain of salt, a 2 year old should be approximately 50% intelligibile to an unfamiliar listener with context, and by 3 years of age, we expect them to be closer to 100% intelligibile again to an unfamiliar listener with context. As children grow and learn to speak they do so by imitating adult speech. Because they are unable to form as sophisticated words as we are, they tend to make some predictable mistakes. We call these mistakes “processes” and they are developmentally appropriate. There has been some research on the ages that these processes are expected to fall away, so then the child’s speech sounds more adult like. Click here to read more!

If you have any questions of your own, feel free to email us at and we will do our best to get them answered! Peruse our blog posts to learn more about hearing health, toddler development, school aged language, adult voice and more. As always, feel free to call or email to schedule an evaluation with our wonderful Speech or Audiology Team!


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!