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How well should a 3 year old be speaking?

My mom, sister and I are a little concerned about my 3 year old daughter. She will be 4 this summer and I think she might be a little behind as far as her speaking skills go. She can put together sentences, she tries to bargain with me when she wants something, but sometimes I don't understand what she is saying. She has a friend who is 5 months younger than her and she speaks so well!
I am taking her to her doctor next week and I want to address the issue, but my daughter is also very shy. She won't talk to people unless she knows them pretty well so it might be difficult to get her to speak to the doctor.
Please offer me any suggestions for things I can do to help her. She is read to for at least 20 minutes every day, we listen to music and she watches limited tv. Her dad mumbles a lot, and I have to ask him to speak clearly sometimes but I don't think that is the problem.

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Asked by monroesmum at 8:10 PM on Feb. 24, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • Is your concern more with her speech abilities overall (expressive, comprehension and articulation) or just articulation?

    My 3 year old is receiving speech therapy for a delay in articulation. The vast majority should be understood by other adults.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 8:43 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

  • Always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to one's child! My son will be 4 in April. We could understand less than 50% of what he was saying until he turned 3. Everyone told us not to worry, but that's easier said than done when it's your child, right? Anyway, here is what we did: At about 20 months of age we got him into the early intervention program our state offers. I believe most, if not all states offer this service. We moved to a different state when he was 2 &1/2 and resumed services there. When he turned 3 they transitioned him to speech classes thru the school district. It was a wonderful service. If you aren't satisfied iwith your regular pediatrician, you may want to see a Developmental Specialist Pediatrician. Hopefully, any other issues will be ruled out and she simply has a speech delay. Good luck, I know how worrisome this is!

    Answer by vivianirene at 8:51 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

  • Is your concern more with her speech abilities overall (expressive, comprehension and articulation) or just articulation?

    I know she understands when we ask her to do things, and when she gets mad she tells us all about it, she talks but she's not chatty. I used to think it was only because she was shy - which she is but I started feeling like something wasn't "normal" I guess after she started playing with others her own age. I do think that the only friend she really has regular playdates with is an exceptional speaker, but it's hard not to compare.

    Answer by monroesmum at 9:10 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

  • Video tape her and show that to the doctor. That will let him see and evaluate her without her needing to talk to him.

    By 36 months a stranger should understand about 75% of what she says. A parent should understand nearly everything.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 11:06 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

  • Talk to your concerns to your daughter's Pediatrician and let him/her know that you want a speech therapist consult. The good thing about speech therapy is that the best way for them to know your child's speech development is by observing and interacting with them during play, so shyness very well may not pose as a problem to a therapist. Your child is already too old for the 0-3 year programs that states offer, so contact your local school district and see about getting your daughter started in pre-school so that she can have speech therapy.

    My DD turned 3 earlier this month and started therapy in pre-school on the 9th because of her speech delay. I can already see a huge improvement (and never really saw an improvement through 6 months of the 0-3 year state-run program).

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 8:13 AM on Feb. 25, 2009

  • I sell Usborne CHildren's books and here are some titles that helped my son along. He was behind and caught right up and now I don't think he ever stops talking! lol.
    you can view these on my website
    the books with cd are great for learning to speak because each time they hear the book
    the voice reading the book to them says the words exactly the same way, in the same tone,
    etc. The Clumbsy Crocodile was my sons favorite but he also liked Robots a lot.
    Try the phonics books too Fat Cat on a Mat is a great one, they're all good at getting
    kids to decipher the difference in pronouncing each individual word.
    Get a few of the phonics books, you'll see a huge difference. The touchy feel line
    was very good too. He started learning those words quickly after I bought the entire line up for him
    That's Not My Mermaid is my neices favorite of those. Also try Signing Time ASL videos from :)

    Answer by usbornebooksdh at 1:58 AM on Feb. 28, 2009

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