Frequently Asked Questions

Where are services provided?
Services are provided in the natural environment. This is typically a room in your home, however, may also be at your child’s preschool or head start program. Services are provided in Chicago and suburbs. Please contact Chicago Speech Therapy (312) 399-0370 to see if there are available appointment times in your area.

Can Karen and her team meet my child’s needs?
Karen and her team are highly trained and have experience working with children who have a variety of disorders and disabilities. Areas of specialized training with children include, but are not limited to…
Articulation & Phonological Disorders
Down Syndrome
Expressive Language Disorders
Feeding and Swallowing
Language Delay
Oral Motor
PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
Receptive Language Disorders

FAQ for parents about their child’s speech

How many words should my 2-year-old be able to say?
“Around their second birthday, many children begin to acquire words at breakneck speed, a phenomenon experts call the naming explosion. Most 2-year-olds can say about 100 words,” says Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D., coauthor of The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn (William Morrow, 1999). “By the time your toddler is 2 1/2, she’ll probably know close to 300.” But not all children follow this pattern, so don’t panic if your child isn’t talking nonstop by 2 1/2. “However, if by the time your toddler is almost 3, she says fewer than 25 words and can’t combine them in a simple 2-word sentence, consult your pediatrician,” Dr. Meltzoff recommends.

I am concerned that my toddler isn’t talking enough. What should I expect when the pediatrician checks her?
First, your doctor will review your child’s medical history and ask whether she achieved her mental, physical, and social milestones on time. Doing this will help rule out any developmental problems.

Because a common cause of speech delays is lingering fluid from a middle-ear infection, your doctor should also check your child’s ears. “Fluid buildup prevents children from hearing clearly, so they can’t mimic the speech around them,” Dr. Meltzoff says. If this is the case, your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics or recommend ear tubes. He’ll also check your child’s motor skills, as some children have trouble coordinating the muscles in the mouth and throat, which can lead to speech problems.

Depending on his findings, he may advise speech therapy or a visit to an audiologist, who specializes in hearing problems. “But even if your child does need therapy, she’ll probably catch up fairly quickly, as very young children tend to respond well to treatment,” says Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., coauthor of How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life (Dutton, 1999). “Some kids just get off to a slower start than others.”

My neighbor’s 2 -year-old can string together five- to seven-word sentences. My own toddler says only two words at a time. Is he lagging behind?
No. Both children are within the normal range. “There’s wide variability in speech development at this age,” Dr. Meltzoff says. “Some children simply acquire words more gradually.” As long as your child’s vocabulary is in the 100-word range, you needn’t worry.

When my 2-year-old talks to me, I can’t understand what he says. Is this normal?
Yes — toddlers often muddle their pronunciation. “Speaking clearly is difficult for a young child. There are nearly 100 different muscles in the vocal tract that need to be coordinated,” says Richard N. Aslin, Ph.D., a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. Some children have a harder time than others. “Listen carefully to your child’s speech. If the sounds he makes are similar to real words and sentences — saying ‘Whareesha’ instead of ‘What is that,’ for example — he’s probably just a little verbally clumsy. Exercises like blowing soap bubbles will help his coordination.” However, if the sounds don’t resemble the names of the objects or concepts, talk to your pediatrician.

My 2-year-old son uses short phrases like “Want food” rather than complete sentences. Why is he doing this?
Two-year-olds’ sentences are very different from those of older kids and adults. “When a 2-year-old says ‘I see truck’ rather than ‘I can see the truck,’ he’s using what’s known as telegraphic speech, which means he’s using only the parts he needs to get his point across,” Dr. Meltzoff says. To encourage your child to speak in full sentences, repeat what he says in correct sentence form. By age 3, most children stop using telegraphic speech.

Is it okay to use baby talk with my 2-year-old?
Though talking in complete sentences is a good idea, it’s fine to speak in the exaggerated speech that parents naturally adopt when addressing their children. In fact, it may actually help your child learn to speak better, according to Dr. Meltzoff’s research. “This speech — called parentese — has very clear and elongated vowel sounds, so it’s a wonderful tutorial for young children,” he explains. And because the sentences are generally short, simple, and repetitive, they’re easy for toddlers to mimic.

If you are concerned with your child’s speech or language development, please contact Chicago Speech Therapy by calling 312-399-0370 or by clicking on the “Contact Karen” button on the upper right section of this page.

Karen George is a Chicago speech-language pathologist. The practice she founded, Chicago Speech Therapy, LLC, provides in-home pediatric speech therapy in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Karen and her team of Chicago speech therapists have a reputation for ultra-effective speech therapy and work with a variety of speech disorders. Karen is the author of several books such as A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Milestones, A Parent’s Guide to Articulation, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Delay, A Parent’s Guide to Stuttering Therapy, and A Parent’s Guide to Pediatric Feeding Therapy. She is often asked to speak and has addressed audiences at Children’s Memorial and Northwestern University. Karen is highly referred by many Chicago-area Pediatricians and elite schools.