Children develop speech and language skills at different rates but there are stages of development that most children pass through as they mature. There are lots of factors that affect this, including environmental. Research shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not have the same exposure to language rich environments as children from more advantaged households and this can affect their language levels and subsequent attainment at school.
In this section you can find a summary of what to expect from children and young people aged 2–16 yrs and how speech and language typically develops. If you have a concern about a child’s speech and language skills it is helpful to consider where a child or young person has got to in their developmental journey – to see if their speech and language skills seem to fit with their abilities overall.
When a child or young person is taking longer than average to acquire skills in all areas of their development, then it is likely that their speech and language skills will also be delayed. These children are likely to make progress as they learn and mature without the need for any specialist support. Children with a very uneven profile – with speech and language well below their other skills – are more likely to need targeted or specialist support.
Click on the icons below to see the development stages: