About SMC

SMC is a well-established practise in Moonee Ponds. We pride ourselves on the quality of care and treatment provided to our clients. We always strive to provide evidence based best practise and truly care about the wellbeing of our clients and staff members. We are approachable and always willing to listen to parents/guardians, as your thoughts, feelings and expertise as a parent/guardian are invaluable.


What is a language disorder?

A language disorder refers to delayed “comprehension and/or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems”


Language can be separated into two main areas:

  • receptive language; and
  • expressive language

(It is possible to have an expressive language delay without a receptive language delay).


What is receptive language?

Receptive language refers to the ability to listen, hear and understand verbal and visual information. It includes understanding stories, following instructions and interpreting visual signs.


What is expressive language?

Expressive language refers to the communication of ideas and intension, through verbal and written expression. It is the ability to convey ideas using appropriate vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure.


Age of diagnosis

More than one study has indicated that the older the child at time of diagnosis, the less positive the outcome. Therefore earlier identification and treatment of a language delay is essential, as therapy outcomes are better.


Language Development


Table 1: Language Norms

By the age of one, your baby should be able to:

Respond to familiar sounds, such as the telephone ringing, the vacuum cleaner, or the car in the driveway
Understand simple commands, such as "no"
Recognise their own name
Understand the names of familiar objects or people
Say "dad", "mamma" and a few other words
Enjoy songs, music and books
Try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises
Identify familiar objects from a group of objects

By the age of two, your toddler should be able to:

Say the names of simple body parts, such as nose or tummy
Listen to stories and say the names of pictures
Understand simple sentences, such as "where's your shoe?"
Use more than fifty words such as "no", "gone", "mine", "teddy"
Talk to themselves or their toys during play
Sing simple songs, such as "Twinkle, twinkle, little star", or "Baa baa black sheep"
Use some pronouns instead of names, such as "he", "it"
Try simple sentences, such as "milk all gone"
Name objects in photographs

By the age of three, your child should be able to:

Understand how objects are used - a crayon is something to draw with
Recognise their own needs, such as hunger
Follow directions
Use three to four word sentences
Begin to use basic grammar
Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
Have favourite books and television programs
Be understood by familiar adults

By the age of four, your child should be able to:

Understand shape and colour names
Understand some "time" words, such as lunch time, today, winter
Ask who, what and why questions
Use lots of words, about 900, usually in four to five word sentences
Use correct grammar with occasional mistakes, such as "I falled down"
Use language when playing with other children
Speak clearly enough to be understood by most people

By the age of five, your child should be able to:

Understand opposites, such as high and low, wet and dry, big and little
Use sentences of about six words with correct grammar
Talk about events which are happening, have happened or might happen
Explain why something happens, such as "Mum's car stopped because the petrol ran out"
Explain the function of objects, for example, "This scrunchie keeps my hair away"
Follow three directions, for example, "Stand up, get you shoes on and wait by the door"
Say how they feel and tell you their ideas
Become interested in writing, numbers and reading things
Speak clearly enough to be understood by anyone


Taken from Speech Pathology Australia. (2007). Learning to speak and listen- what to expect in the first five years. Retrieved June 16th 2009 from htt://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/library/22_FactSheet.pdf

By the age of six, your child should be able to:

Formulate meaningful and grammatically correct sentence

Describe similarities
Identify objects that don’t belong
Understand quantity concepts e.g. four

Indicate body parts on self

Name items that fit into categories

Understand time and/or sequence concepts e.g. first, last

Order pictures/objects from smallest to largest

By the end of grade one your child should be able to:

Give people directions

Correctly follow 2-3 directions at one time

Be easily understood by familiar and unfamiliar people

Answer more complex yes and no questions

Sequence ideas in a logical manner when telling or retelling a story

Use correct grammar (most of the time)

Formulate “wh” questions (e.g. who, what, where, when, why, how)

Appropriately answer “wh” questions

Understand time concepts e.g. seasons

Express quantity e.g. more, empty

Use irregular plurals e.g. teeth, mice

By the end of grade two your child should be able to:

Follow 3-4 verbal directions in a sequence

Provide directions containing 3-4 steps

Understand concepts related to location, time and space
Correctly answer questions about a story within their age range

Use sentence structures that are more complex

Use language to inform persuade and entertain people (verbally)

Clarify ideas or words that have not been understood

By the end of grade three your child should be able to:

Listen carefully in group situations

Ask and respond to questions

Actively participate in conversations and group discussions

Use vocabulary being used in classroom subjects

Summarise a story accurately

Explain what they have learnt to people

By the end of grade four your child should be able to:

Listen to and understand information presented by others

Share their opinions based on evidence

Listen for explicit purposes

Use words appropriately in conversation

Use language effectively for a variety of purposes

Understand some figurative language (e.g., "the water was crystal clear")

Participate in group discussions

Give correct directions to people

Summarise and reiterate ideas

Organise information clearly

By the end of grade five your child should be able to:

Plan and present an oral presentation

Listen and draw conclusions in subject areas at school

Maintain eye contact, use gestures, and facial expressions, while presenting to a group

Participate in class discussions across subject areas

Summarise main points

Report about information gathered in group activities



-American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2009). Your Child's Communication Development: Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade. Retrieved June 16th 2009 from


-Paul, R. (2001). Language disorders from infancy through adolescence assessment and intervention (2nd Edition). Missouri : Mosby

-Speech Pathology Australia. (2007). Learning to speak and listen- what to expect in the first five years. Retrieved June 16th 2009 from htt://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/library/22_FactSheet.pdf

-Zimmerman, I., Steiner, V., & Pond, P. (2002). Preschool Language Scale (4th Edition). Harcourt