Speech and Language Milestones


“When should my child say his/her first words?” “Is this typical for his/her age?” These are common questions Speech-Language Pathologists receive from parents of young children. May is Speech and Hearing month and a great opportunity to ensure your child is meeting his/her speech and language goals.

The following is a list of some communication skills by age. A referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist is recommended if any of the milestones are not being met.

At 6 months, does your child:

  • Turn his/her eyes or head toward sound?
  • Babble and make different sounds (e.g. “aha’, “baba”, raspberries, squeals, growls)?
  • Make sounds back when you talk?
  • Enjoy games like peek-a-boo?

At 12 months, does your child:

  • Imitate sounds, words and actions?
  • Recognize his/her name?
  • Follow simple directions (e.g. “Get your ball!”)

At 18 months, does your child:

  • Use at least 10 words?
  • Respond to routine questions such as “where is the dog”?
  • Follow simple one-step instructions such as, “give me the ball”?

At 2 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 50 words? Combine words in two-word phrases?
  • Point to the correct picture when asked?
  • Follow two-step instructions such as, “go upstairs and bring me your doll”?

At 3 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 500 words? Combine words into three-word phrases?
  • Understand concepts such as big/little, in/on/under?
  • Ask why questions?
  • Are people outside of the family able to understand your child?

At 4 years of age, does your child:

  • Use 1000-1500 words? Combine words into 4-6 word sentences?
  • Follow three or more step instructions such as, “First get some paper, then draw a picture, and last give it to mom”?
  • Ask a lot of questions?

A referral is also recommended for any of the following:

  • Voice is continuously hoarse.
  • Sounds and/or words are repeated often.
  • Your child acts frustrated when trying to talk.
  • Play or social skills seem inappropriate.
  • Literacy skills are behind grade/age expectations.
  • Limited interest in toys and/or plays with them in an unusual way.
  • Has lost words he/she used to say.
  • Most importantly, YOU are concerned with your child’s speech and/or language development.

Early intervention is critical for children with communication problems. If you are concerned with your child’s speech and language development, a Speech-Language Pathologist can assess your child to determine if his/her speech and language skills are age appropriate, provide intervention, parent strategies and resources.




2 Responses to Speech and Language Milestones
  1. I have twin 3 year old boys and they are extremely behind on their speech its starting to really worry me. They turned 3 august 8 2016 and only have a handful of words and have never made a whole sentence, when asked to do something they will go do it so they’re understanding orders but will not repeat words, we do alot of what you explained in the video such as speaking slowly and pausing for a response, trying not to just get them milk when they make a noise. The doctor said hes not worried but still hasnt done a hearing test. What should o do?


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