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Speech and Language Development

Communication is fundamental to school success.

Approximately 13% of Australian school children have a disorder that affects their communication.

This equates to 3 children in every NSW primary classroom (based on an average class size of 24).

The Critical Age of 5 Years

The first four years of a child's life are very significant for speech and language development. Once a child commences school, they face the demands of a school curriculum which is heavily reliant on language competence.

Yastremska/bigstock-Cute-little-boy-painting-43851898.jpg. Used under license.

Extensive research has concluded that 5 year olds entering school with significant untreated speech and language difficulties demonstrate ongoing educational difficulties.  The long-term effects include difficulties with reading, spelling, writing,  and numeracy, social challenges and low self-esteem.  They have also been found to be at greater risk of bullying and report less school enjoyment than their peers.


(Bashir & Scavuzzo,1992; Beitchman et al.,1994; Paul & Kellogg,1997; Johnson et al 1999; Tomblin, Zhang, Buckwalter, & Catts, 2000; Young et al, 2002; Conti-Ramsden et al., 2004).

Communication difficulties significantly impact a child's school participation and educational performance.

Children are at greater risk if:

  • They are male

  • They have had a history of middle ear infections or hearing loss

  • There is a family history of communication and/or literacy difficulties

  • They have a reactive personality (tend to give up; not willing to attempt or complete challenging activities; easily frustrated; often described as "strong-willed")

  • They were breast fed for less than 9 months

dolgachov/bigstock-education-elementary-school--78499787.jpg. Used under license

Children rarely spontaneously "grow out of" speech and language difficulties.


Seeing a Speech Pathologist early gives you more time to address issues

before your child starts school.

What to Expect & When to Seek Help

Click on these handy Speech and Language Checklists to learn more 

Late Talkers

children's language, learning & literacy

250 words by age 24 months 

YOU are your child's most important language teacher!

2-3 Years

speech therapist near me

450 word vocabulary

that increases daily

3-4 Years

speech pathologist near me

Vocabulary of 1000+ words

Sentence length of 4 - 5 words

4-5 Years

Hills District Sydney

Listens to and retells stories

Asks many questions

Participates in conversations

5+ Years

pressmaster/bigstock-Portrait-of-two-diligent-pupil-47497396. Used under license

Follows 3 step instructions

Extensive vocabulary

Expresses ideas clearly, can problem-solve

Concerned About


Stuttering often begins between the ages of 2 and 5 years, when children start putting words together into short sentences. 

Click on the link below

for some great information from 

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. 

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