Speech and Language Development Tips

About The Author

Hi! I’m Kelly. I’m a speech language pathologist with 15 years experience and the last decade has been dedicated to early intervention. I coach parents and caregivers on how to use speech and language strategies right in the typical parts of their day. This gives parents, just like you, the skills and confidence they need to get their child communicating.
Kelly Goldberg
Speech Language Pathologist

It’s also where Bridging Child Development was born.  After almost every session with a family, they would say to me, “I wish I had known this with my first child!” and “Why did no one ever tell us this?” It is these families that inspired me to bridge my knowledge to you through online courses.  No more “wait and see,” long private therapy wait lists, or wondering, “Am I doing this right?” Everyone should have the tools needed to get their child communicating starting at birth!  I’m also a wife and mom of 2 girls so I know all the feels of raising littles.  I’m so thankful to be on this journey with you!  Don’t forget to connect on Instagram

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Speech and Language Development

Answered by a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Often the terms “speech” and “language” are used synonymously but they are actually two completely different skills.  It is important to understand the difference between “speech” and “language” because the assessment and treatment process is not the same.  “Speech” refers to how your toddler says the sounds in a word. “Language” is your toddler’s ability to understand words and use gestures or words to communicate.

Below are answers to the most common questions I am asked as a Speech Language Pathologist about speech and language development, and few pro-tips so you have peace of mind that you are supporting your toddler’s speech and language development in ways that create the foundation of communication and leads to more talking!


Believe it or not, saying sounds is a complex skill and takes
your toddler time to develop.  
They need to coordinate the movements of their lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal cords in order to put a string of sounds together that make up words.  When your toddler first starts talking, it is common that they do not say every sound correctly.  Certain speech sounds develop sooner than others. 

It is also typical to have a difficult time understanding what your toddler says.  Here is a quick reference so you know how much of your child’s speech you should understand and when. 

If your toddler says a word that didn’t come out quite right, just repeat that word back to them a couple times.  If they said, “Tootie” for “cookie” you say, “Cookie!  Want cookie.  Yummy cookie” and then move on.  Don’t ask them to repeat after you or make the /k/ sound.  Keep the flow of the interaction moving forward! 


There is a range of normal when it comes to the number of words your toddler should have.  You may have heard the term, “milestone” which means a skill 90% of children have mastered.  This is different from “average” which is a skill about 50% of children have mastered.  Interestingly, when it comes to language development, doctors tend to use developmental milestones while speech language pathologists generally use averages. 


This is a big range when it comes to the number of words your child might say at any given age and still be considered typical!  So, first things first, don’t compare your toddler to other kiddos. 

Get face to face!  

Have Instagram? Here’s a few posts highlighting your child’s point of view:  Bath time.  Books.  Play time.

Focus on making comments and limit your questions. 

Here’s a silly IG post that says it all.

Focus on QUALITY not QUANTITY when talking to your toddler.


Toddlers have the best speech and language outcomes when they are supported in the context of their real life and by people they are with the most. That’s you! As the parent or caregiver, YOU make the biggest difference in your toddler’s speech and language development. Researchers found that parent-implemented intervention may actually be more effective than clinician-directed speech and language services for late talkers (DeVeney & Hagaman, 2016).  How can this be?  Simply put you are with your child more than a speech therapist could ever be with your child which gives you the most opportunities to use language boosting strategies.

Whether you have concerns, are being proactive, or your toddler is already receiving speech and language services, there are things you can do right now to support your toddler’s development.  Research says you are the best person to support your child.  When parents receive training in strategies to support language development, they had children with more advanced language skills both immediately and long term compared to children whose parents did not have coaching or training (Ramirez et al., 2019). 

Want to learn more? Need a consultancy? Check out my Instagram and website for free tips and tricks, online courses and more!

Kelly Goldberg

Speech language pathologist

Copyright ©2022 Bridging Child Development

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