Development Guidelines

Below is a list of speech/language milestones that may be used as a guide in determining when to seek out services.

4-6 months

  • Babbling emerges; speech-like sounds are present (e.g., /m/, /p/, /b/)
  • Child responds to changes in the tone of your voice
  • Child begins to notice toys that make sounds

7-12 months

  • Babbling consists of long and short groups of sounds
  • Child imitates various speech sounds
  • Emergence of first words with meaning (9-12+ months)
  • Child turns and looks in direction of sounds and listens when spoken to
  • Child begins to respond to requests (e.g., “come here” or “want more?”)

1-2 years

  • Vocabulary is developing rapidly
  • Child begins to put 2 words together (e.g., “more juice” “no car”)
  • Child begins to use some 1-2 word questions (e.g., “where mommy?”)
  • Child uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words
  • Child is able to follow simple commands and understand simple questions

2-3 years

  • Child uses 2-3 word phrases/sentences to comment and request
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
  • Child is able to follow two requests (e.g., “Get baby and put her in bed.”)
  • Child uses sentences comprised of 4+ words Child understands simple “wh” (who, what, where, why) questions

3-4 years

  • Child is understood by most unfamiliar listeners
  • Child uses sentences comprised of 4+ words
  • Child understands simple “wh” (who, what, where, why) questions

4-5 years

  • Child is able to use detailed sentences (e.g., “I like to wear my pink Dora hat.”)
  • Child is able to communicate easily with other children and adults
  • Child produces most speech sounds correctly
  • Child tells coherent simple stories
  • Child pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it

What can you do if you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development?

Contact us for a comprehensive speech and language evaluation to see whether your child is communicating at age-appropriate expectations.

The information contained herein was made possible by
the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association.