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.