Centre de la fluidité verbale de Montréal
Montreal Fluency Centre

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My Preschooler

Should I Be Worried About My Preschooler?

There is a range of time during which it is expected that typically-developing children will acquire skills.  This means that not all children perform the same way at a particular  age. For example, one child might be able to speak in full, understandable sentences by the age of 3, while another might only do so at age 4. This variability can make it difficult to know when or if we need to be concerned about our preschool-aged child’s communication skills. However, there are evidence-based, developmental standards regarding what we can reasonably expect children to be doing, saying or understanding for each age level.

Why is Early Intervention Important?

Our national professional association, the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), has the following to say about beginning treatment with a child as soon as possible:

“If a speech or language problem goes unnoticed the child may face life-long difficulties. Even children under the age of two can be helped with speech and language development…Early detection is vital.”

(Reference: http://www.speechandhearing.ca/files/preschool_speech_and_language.pdf)

“The early identification of speech and language problems is integral to prevention of associated problems in communication, literacy and cognition and is fundamental for lifelong well-being… Early intervention includes and depends on the earliest possible effective identification of speech and language disorders. Results of four decades of applied research in neurosciences, speech-language pathology and early childhood special education show that strategic early intervention programs improve lifetime outcomes for vulnerable and at-risk children and generate a range of benefits to society (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2001).”

(Reference: http://www.caslpa.ca/english/members/private/EarlyID-PositionPaper.pdf)

So, why is early intervention important? Because the earlier communication problems are identified and addressed, the better your child stands to do in the long run.


If your child is not using all the skills listed for their age below, consult a speech-language pathologist. + If you observe your child stuttering and it persists for more than 6 months, contact a speech-language pathologist*


By 2 years old

  • uses at least 10 words
  • uses 2-word phrases, e.g. “more water”
  • asks simple questions, e.g. “What’s that ?”
  • responds to name
  • understands simple questions and instructions
  • looks at your face when talking to you
  • takes turns in a conversation
  • uses sounds [m, p, n, h]


By 3 years old

  • uses and understands simple 3 word phrases, e.g. “Mommy throws ball”
  • follows 2-step directions, e.g. “Find the book and give it to Daddy”
  • understands many concepts, e.g. in, on, up, down
  • uses pretend play (e.g. feeds a doll, drives)
  • participates in short conversations
  • other people can understand 50% of what your child says
  • knows that you hold a book right side up and turns the pages
  • points to or names pictures in a book
  • may pretend to read
  • can hold a crayon and scribble


By 4 years old

  • uses 4 word phrases, e.g. “That train is loud”
  • tells short stories and speaks about daily activities
  • understands Who?, Why?, How? questions
  • other people can understand 75% of what your child says
  • can clap out syllables in a word (like Ca-na-da)
  • may start playing with rhymes or enjoy listening to books with rhymes
  • sorts and identifies basic shapes and colors
  • recognizes environmental print (cereal box logo, McDonald’s sign)


By 5 years old

  • uses complete, grammatical sentences
  • follows 3-step directions, e.g. “Pick up your shoes, put them in your backpack and put the backpack on”
  • understands concepts “yesterday” and “next”
  • participates in and understands conversations
  • pronounces most speech sounds correctly
  • recognizes own name as well as the letters in name
  • recognizes when a word has the same sound at the beginning, e.g. bat-ball-big all start with “b”
  • can identify or recognize 10 letters in the alphabet
  • understands the difference between writing and drawing


To arrange a consultation or an evaluation of your child, please complete the form to Open a file or contact our Intake Coordinator at info@montrealfluency.com or 514-489-4320 ext. 237.