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At what age should kids be able to speak clearly? My wife and I can understand 90% of what our three-year-old 38 months daughter says. She can be understood by strangers about half the time and I'm wondering if she needs speech therapy.

It’s hard to say at her age, just barely 3, whether she needs speech therapy or not. However, there are several things for you to watch for as she develops in the next couple of months. Her overall vocabulary should have around 250 to 500 words in it and it should become increasingly easier for others to understand. You want to notice if there are particular vowels or consonants that she seems to struggle pronouncing. Sometimes it takes a little time for them to develop the muscles in their mouth to be able to form the sounds clearly. If she seems to understand other people’s language and can respond appropriately I would just watch her for the time being. If it doesn’t seem to change or get clearer over the next couple months ask your pediatrician what he/she thinks. A visit to a speech therapist is super helpful. They can give you exercises to do with her at home that can quickly help her be better able to form the sounds. By 40-42 months, it should be pretty easy for people to understand her even though kids at that age have a slight accent.

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