Communication Delay in 2 year old children

By June 3, 2024 June 13th, 2024 Speech Pathology
Communication delay in 2 year old with Speech Pathologist in Bondi Junction and Mascot

Communication is an essential part of a child’s development. By the age of two, most children start to use simple words and short phrases to express themselves. However, some children may experience communication delays, meaning they are not developing speech and language skills at the expected rate for their age. Understanding communication delay and knowing how to support a child can make a big difference. Here’s what you need to know about communication delay in 2-year-old children.

What is Communication Delay?

A communication delay occurs when a child doesn’t reach the expected milestones for speech and language development. By the age of two, most children should be able to say around 50 words and start to form two- to three-word sentences like “want juice” or “big truck.” If a child isn’t meeting these milestones, it might indicate a communication delay.

Typical Communication Milestones for 2-Year-Olds

  1. Vocabulary: At age two, children typically have a vocabulary of about 50 words or more. They begin to use a mix of nouns, verbs, and some simple adjectives.
  2. Combining Words: Children start combining two or more words to form simple sentences, such as “more milk,” “go car,” or “mommy help.”
  3. Understanding Instructions: They can understand and follow simple instructions like “come here” or “give me the ball.”
  4. Naming Objects: Children begin to name common objects, people, and body parts.
  5. Social Interaction: They show interest in playing with others and can engage in simple pretend play.

Signs of Communication Delay

  1. Limited Vocabulary: If a 2-year-old uses fewer than 50 words, it might be a sign of a communication delay.
  2. Not Combining Words: A child who is not yet combining words into simple sentences by age two may have a delay.
  3. Difficulty Understanding: If the child struggles to understand simple instructions or doesn’t respond to questions and commands, it could indicate a delay.
  4. Unclear Speech: While some speech clarity issues are normal at this age, a 2-year-old’s speech should be understood by familiar adults at least half of the time.
  5. Lack of Social Interaction: If the child shows little interest in interacting with others or doesn’t engage in pretend play, it might be a concern.

Causes of Communication Delay

  1. Hearing Problems: Hearing is crucial for language development. If a child has trouble hearing, they might not be able to learn and imitate sounds and words effectively.
  2. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Children with autism often have communication delays. They might also have difficulty with social interactions and repetitive behaviours.
  3. Developmental Disorders: Conditions like Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities can affect language development.
  4. Environmental Factors: Limited exposure to language and social interaction can contribute to communication delays. Children need to hear language and engage in conversations to develop their skills.

How to Support a Child with Communication Delay

  1. Talk and Read Regularly: Engage your child in conversation throughout the day. Describe what you’re doing, ask questions, and read books together. The more they hear language, the better.
  2. Use Simple Sentences: Use short, simple sentences that match your child’s level of understanding. Repeat words and phrases to reinforce learning.
  3. Encourage Imitation: Encourage your child to imitate sounds, words, and actions. Play games that involve copying each other’s movements and sounds.
  4. Play Interactive Games: Games like peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, and simple turn-taking games help develop communication and social skills.
  5. Use Gestures and Visuals: Use gestures, pictures, and objects to support your words. This helps children understand and remember new vocabulary.
  6. Be Patient and Positive: Celebrate your child’s attempts to communicate, even if they don’t get it right. Positive reinforcement encourages them to keep trying.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you notice signs of communication delay in your 2-year-old, it’s important to talk to a paediatrician or Speech Pathologist. The doctor can conduct hearing tests and developmental screenings to determine if there is a delay and what might be causing it. Early intervention is key to helping children with communication delays catch up to their peers.


Communication delay in 2-year-old children can be concerning, but with the right support and intervention, many children can make significant progress. Understanding typical communication milestones, recognising signs of delay, and engaging in activities that promote language development are crucial steps for parents and caregivers. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. By being proactive and supportive, you can help your child develop the communication skills they need to thrive.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

If you’re concerned about your 2 year old’s communication development or want to learn more about how Speech Pathology and Hanen – It Takes Two To Talk can help your child, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help. We have clinics in Bondi Junction and Mascot – in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email. You can book a free 30 minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey