Speech Development Milestones for Kindergarten Readiness
As one school year is quickly coming to a close, if you have a five or six year old, you may be gearing up to get them ready for the next big next step in the fall: Kindergarten! This is an exciting time, watching your little one move on to big kid things! However, if you have concerns about your child's speech or language development, you may be questioning if this is the right year for him or her to start Kindergarten.
Not only is it a time of transition, kindergarten is also the starting line of your child’s formal education. It’s also when a child’s communication milestones are examined under a microscope by educators. Negative feedback might be difficult to hear, but it’s usually worth carefully considering.
I am a huge proponent of the importance of early intervention for speech delays and language disorders. No matter the underlying issue, it’s rarely resolved on its own. If a child does not have the necessary communication skills for beginning Kindergarten, it can lead to difficulties in other areas of development, such as socialization and academic progress.
Children do vary widely in their development of speech and language skills, however, it’s still a good idea to keep a close eye on whether a suspected delay persists. If your child is inching in on kindergarten age, and you’re concerned they may have a speech delay or language disorder, you should speak to your pediatrician and/or consider reaching out to Foundation Communication for a free screening to determine whether further intervention is necessary.
So, what exactly are you talking about, Jill?:
Speech: A child who has trouble producing sounds correctly, who deletes sounds/parts of words, one or who stutters likely have a speech disorder. For example, childhood apraxia of speech is a type of speech disorder that makes it tough to put syllables and sounds together in the right order to make words.
Language: A child who has difficulty understanding what other people are saying to them (receptive language), which may be seen in trouble following directions or answering questions, may have a language disorder. If a child has difficulty sharing their thoughts or expressing their needs (expressive language) may have a language disorder. For example, a child with an expressive language disorder at the age of 2 or 3.
The following is a good checklist of things that you should look for as a parent to determine if there is need for concern before your child starts Kindergarten:
Can your child pay attention to a short story and answer simple questions about it?
Can your child hear and understand most of what’s being said at home and in school?
Can your child follow multi-step directions (“Put on your coat, get your shoes, and bring me your backpack”)?
Does your child use sentences that give many details?
Does your child tell stories that stay on topic and are organized in their re-telling?
Can your child communicate easily with other children and adults outside their immediate home?
Does your child say most sounds correctly? (By the age of 5, a child should have all sounds except for TH & that should be achieved by the age of 6.)
Does your child use or at least understand rhyming words?
Does your child use verb tenses correctly?
Can your child use appropriate adjectives to describe things (shapes, colors, sizes, etc.)?
Can your child name some numbers and letters.
Does your child understand basic concepts of time (today, tomorrow, yesterday, sooner, later, before, after, etc)?
Can your child recognize patterns?
Kindergarten readiness encompasses a whole scope of developmental milestones. Not only might a language or speech delay compound the longer it’s unaddressed, but it can adversely affect your child's first year of a long academic career. I am always available at firstname.lastname@example.org and 513-254-6062 if you have any questions or need any guidance toward a successful start to school!