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Oct 19

Speech and Language Developmental Milestones

How and When Does Your Child Hear and Talk?
What Age Should a Child Understand Language?
How Should a Child Express Himself or Herself?
When Should a Child Say Certain Sounds?

Speech & Language Milestones Yes / No

Birth – 5 months:

  • Localizes sounds by turning head
  • Uses sounds or gestures to indicate wants
  • Frequently coos, gurgles and makes pleasure and displeasure sounds
  • Uses a different cry to express different needs
  • Smiles at familiar faces and will quiet when recognizing familiar voice
  • Looks and smiles at people when talked to
  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Babbling sounds begin to sound speech-like with many different sounds including p, b, and m

6-12 months:

  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes certain everyday words; “cup”, “cookie” and responds to requests; “come here” and “want more?”
  • Listens to and imitates some adult speech sounds/intonation patterns
  • Babbles using long and short groups of sounds
  • Understands phrases like “no-no,” “all gone,” and “bye-bye”
  • Communicates using appropriate “gesture language”
  • (shake head for “no”)
  • Begins to change babbling to jargon
  • Uses speech intentionally for the first time
  • Say “mama” or “dada” for parents
  • Has 1 or 2 words

1 to 2 years:

  • Looks for hidden objects
  • Points or gestures to communicate or identify needs
  • Talks in single words
  • Uses many different consonant sound at the beginning of words
  • Often omits some initial consonants and almost all final consonants
  • Uses echolalia and jargon
  • Has 3-20 words (mostly nouns) in expressive vocabulary
  • Receptively identify 1-3 body parts
  • Follows simple directions
  • Uses words more frequently than jargon
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50 to 100 words
  • Has a receptive vocabulary or 300 or more words
  • Starts to combine nouns and verbs (“more cookie”)
  • Begins to use pronouns
  • Understood by familiar listeners and is approximately 25-50%
  • Intelligible to strangers
  • Names a few familiar objects
  • Identifies 5-6 body parts on self or a doll
  • Begins to understand adjectives in phrases

2-3 years

  • Understands the differences in meaning (“go-stop”, “in-on”, “big-little”,· “up down”
  • Speech is 50-75% intelligible
  • Consistently uses initial consonants
  • Frequently uses medial consonants
  • Frequently omits or substitutes final consonants
  • Begins to demonstrate turn-taking and sharing behaviors
  • Follows simple commands and answers simple questions
  • Uses 2-4 word phrases to talk about and ask for things
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 words
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-250 or more words
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time

3-4 years

  • Spontaneous sentences approximately 4 or more words
  • Is at least 80% intelligible to familiar listener
  • Use of irregular plurals, future tense verbs, conjunctions, and contractions emerge
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words
  • Understands object functions
  • Names primary colors
  • Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes
  • Has a 1,000-2,000 or more word receptive vocabulary
  • Has a 800-1,500 or more word expressive vocabulary
  • Appropriately uses is, are, and am in sentences
  • Talks about activities at school or at a friends’ house
  • Tells 2 events in chronological order
  • Sentences average 5 to 5 ½ words in length
  • People other than family usually understand child’s speech

4-5 years

  • Consistently uses verbally and grammatically correct sentences
  • Completes analogies
  • Identifies at least 6 capital letters
  • Recognizes absurdities in pictures
  • Identifies all basic colors
  • Able to attend to a short story and answers simple question related to it
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
  • Understands passive voice statements
  • Likes to pretend and act out stories
  • Understands and answers complex 2-part questions
  • Significantly reduces number of persistent sound omissions and substitutions
  • Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh, th
  • Uses grammatically correct sentences of 4-8 words
  • Sentences provide details (ie: “I like to play with my cars”.)

5-6 years

  • Understands up to approximately 13,500 words
  • Follows 3 step directions
  • Asks “how” questions
  • Knows number concepts to 7
  • Understands right and left
  • Uses past and future tenses appropriately
  • Uses conjunctions
  • Names opposites
  • Uses up to 2,200 words
  • Sentence length to averages 6 words
  • Accurately relays a story that sticks to a topic
  • Exchanges information and asks questions

6-7 years

  • Understands up to approximately 20,000 words
  • Names letters, numbers and currencies
  • Is detailed in descriptions
  • Uses irregular verb forms
  • Names days, months and numbers in serial order
  • Comprehends future and past tenses
  • Understands humor
  • Wonders about abstract events like how things work
  • Counts to 100
  • Uses most morphological markers appropriately
  • Sentences average up to 7 words

If your child does not appear to be reaching age appropriate milestones, a Speech-Language Pathologist can provide a Comprehensive Evaluation.