Our specialists in Speech and Language Therapy, practicing in Cape Town, South Africa will assist you in the assessment and treatment of Speech and Language Disorders.



Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive.

  • Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language.
  • Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

A checklist to see if your child has the necessary receptive and/or receptive skills for his age is available. If your child is not able to do more than two, it is necessary for you to see a professional speech and language therapist.
Download the checklist.

0-6 Months
Repeats the same sounds
Frequently coos, gurgles, and makes pleasure sounds
Uses a different cry to express different needs
Smiles when spoken to
Recognises voices
Localises sounds by turning head
Listens to speech
Uses the phonemes [p], [b] and [m] in babbling
Uses sounds or gestures to indicate wants
7-12 Months
Understands no and hot
Responds to simple requests
Understands and responds to own name
Listens to and imitate some sounds
Recognises words for common items (e.g. cup, shoe, bottle)
Babbles using long and short groups of sounds
Uses a song-like intonation pattern when babbling
Uses a large variety of sounds in babbling
Imitates some adult speech sounds and intonation patterns
Uses speech sounds rather than only crying to get attention
Listens when spoken to
Uses sounds approximations
Begins to change babbling to jargon
Uses speech intentionally for the first time
Uses nouns almost exclusively
Has an expressive vocabulary of 1-3 words
Understands simple commands
13-18 Months
Uses adult-like intonation patterns
Uses echolalia and jargon
Uses jargon to fill gaps in fluency
Omits some initial consonants and almost all final consonants
Produces mostly unintelligible speech
Follows simple commands
Receptively identifies 1-3 body parts
Has an expressive vocabulary of 3-20 or more words (mostly nouns)
Combines gestures and vocalisation
Make requests for more of desired items
19-24 Months
Uses words more frequently than jargon
Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-100 or more words
Has a receptive vocabulary of 300 or more words
Starts to combine nouns and verbs
Begins to use pronouns
Maintains unstable voice control
Uses appropriate intonation for questions
Is approximately 20-25% intelligible to strangers
Answers “what’s that?” questions
Enjoys listening to stories
Knows 5 body parts
Accurately names a few familiar objects
2-3 Years
Speech is 50-75% intelligible
Understands one and all
Verbalises toilet needs (before, during, or after act)
Requests items by name
Points to pictures in a book when named
Identifies several body parts
Follows simple commands and answers simple questions
Enjoys listening to short stories, songs and rhymes
Asks 1-2 word questions
Uses 3-4 word phrases
Uses some prepositions, articles, present progressive verbs, regular plurals, contractions, and irregular past tense forms
Uses words that are general in context
Continues use of echolalia when difficulties in speech are encountered
Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 or more words
Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-250 or more words (rapid growth during this period)
Exhibits multiple grammatical errors
Understands more things said to him
Frequently exhibits repetitions – especially starters, “I”, and first syllables
Speaks with a loud voice
Increases range of pitch
Uses vowels correctly
Consistently uses initial consonants (although some are misarticulated)
Frequently omits medial consonants
Frequently omits or substitutes final consonants
Uses approximately 27 phonemes
Uses the auxiliary including the contracted form
Uses some regular past tense verbs, possessive morphemes, pronouns and imperatives
3-4 Years
Understands object functions
Understands differences in meaning (stop-go, in-on)
Follows 2 and 3 part commands
Asks and answers simple questions (who, what, where, why)
Frequently asks questions and often demands detail in responses
Produces simple verbal analogies
Uses language to express emotion
Uses 4-5 words in sentences
Repeats 6-13 syllable sentences accurately
Identifies objects by name
Manipulates adults and peers
May continue to use echolalia
Uses up to 6 words in a sentence
Uses nouns and verbs more frequently
Is conscious of past and future
Has a 1200-2000 or more word receptive vocabulary
Has a 800-1500 or more word expressive vocabulary
May repeat self often, exhibiting blocks, disturbed breathing and facial grimaces during speech
Increases speech rate
Masters 50% of consonants and blends
Speech is 80% intelligible
Sentence grammar improves, although some errors still persist
Appropriately uses is, are and am in sentences
Tells two events in chronological order
Engage in long conversations
Uses some contractions, irregular plurals, future tense verbs, and conjunctions
Consistently uses regular plurals, possessives, and simple past tense verbs
4-5 Years
Imitatively counts to 5
Understands concept of numbers up to 3
Continues understanding of spatial concepts
Recognises 1-3 colours
Has a receptive vocabulary of 2800 or more words
Counts to 10 by rote
Listens to short simple stories
Answers questions about function
Uses grammatically correct sentences
Has an expressive vocabulary of 900-2000 or more words
Uses sentences of 4-8 words
Answers complex 2-part questions
Asks for word definitions
Speaks at a rate of approximately 186 words per minute
Reduces total number of repetitions
Enjoys rhymes, rhythms and nonsense syllables
Produces consonants with 90%accuracy
Significantly reduces number of persistent sound omissions and substitutions
Frequently omits medial consonants
Speech is usually intelligible to strangers
Talks about experiences at school, at friends’ home, etc
Accurately relates a long story
Pays attention to a story and answers simple questions about it
Uses some irregular plurals, possessive pronouns, future tense, reflexive pronouns, and comparative morphemes in sentences
From: Communicative Disorders – An Assessment Manual. K.G. Shipley & J.G. McAfee





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