Speech and language development in children aged 0–3 years

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Find out how a child’s speech and language skills usually develop by age three and what you can do to support speech and language development.

Key points

  • Speech refers to how we make and combine sounds to say words.​
  • Language refers to how we use words to communicate.
  • Receptive language is understanding what is said to us. Expressive language is how we share our own thoughts, needs and ideas verbally and non-verbally.
  • General milestones can be used to track a child’s development of speech, receptive language, expressive language and overall communication.
  • Supports are available to your child both in and out of hospital.
Last updated: April 24th 2023