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Major Developmental Milestones to Speech












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• Gurgles and babbles in speech-like way, includes “p,” “b” and “m” sounds.


• Vocalizes excitement and displeasure.


• Makes “urgent” noises when she wants you to respond.














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• Appears to have reduced eye contact, does not relate to others socially, does not respond to greetings or his/her name.


• Comprehension difficulties can be noted in a child as young as 12- to 18-months old. See a speech pathologist as soon as there are any concerns.


• By 18 months, does not use any true single words or expressive language, or does not understand common words or indicate what he or she wants through gestures or vocalization.


• By 2 years, does not use single words other than parental names like “mama” and “dada.”



















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4 to 5 yrs.


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• Speech is clear and fluent.


• Constructs long and detailed sentences.


• Tells a long and involved story and sticks to the topic, using “adult-like” grammar.


• May still have trouble pronouncing l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh and th sounds.


• May tell imaginative “tall” stories


• See a speech/language pathologist if your child’s language comprehension appears delayed.


5 to 7-1/2 years



Age


Use of Language


Red Flags



Precursors to Speech and Language


 


 


Newborn to 3 mos.

 


• “Coos” and “goos” when content.

 


• Uses different cries to indicate hunger, discomfort, fatigue.

 


• Smiles when he sees you.

 


• Not startling at loud sounds or responding to the sound of your voice; may have impaired hearing.

 


• Is silent.

 


• Does not make eye contact.


4 to 6 mos.


• Is not babbling.


7 to 12 mos.


• Babbling has both long and short groups of consonant and vowel sounds, such as “tata upup bibibibi.”


• Uses speech or sounds other than crying to get and hold your attention.


• Imitates different speech sounds.


• Recognizes names of objects.


• Responds to simple directions.


• Says first words, such as “mama,” “night-night” and “bye-bye.”


• Does not make eye contact.



Early Language




1 to 2 yrs.


• Says more words each month and understands up to 50 words.


• Asks two-word questions, such as “What that?” or “Where’s dog?”


• Combines two words to make simple sentences, such as “Daddy go” or “More push.”


• Conveys desires (“want”), specific objects (“juice”) and emotions (“no!”).


• Uses many consonant sounds at the beginning of words.


• Identifies body parts.


• Follows one- to two-step commands, such as “Bring your book” or “Come here and sit.”


• 25 percent of speech is intelligible.


Word Explosion


 


 


2 to 3-1/2 yrs.


• Has a word for almost everything, and vocabulary increases from a few dozen words to 300 – 1,000.


• Utterances are usually one to three words long.


• Asks for something by name or draws attention to it by naming it (“book”) or one of its attributes (“big”) or by commenting (“wow!”).


• Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.


• Understands most “who,” “which,”  “what,” “when,” “where” and “why” questions.


• Follows two-step commands, such as “get your pail and put it next to the door.”


• Cannot make communication efforts understood.

 


• By 2-1/2 years, does not use at least several two-word combinations such as “want milk.”


• At more than age 2-1/2, stutters with many words in many situations.


• By 3 years, does not use simple sentences or cannot understand simple explanations.


Mastering Fluency


 


 


3-1/2 to 4 yrs.


• Makes sentences up to four or more words long.


• Speech is usually fluent and clear to non-family members.


• Talks about activities at friends’ houses or preschool.


• Begins to ask questions using pronouns and plurals.


• Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.


• Tells his full name, age and gender.


• Knows primary colors.


• 75 percent intelligible.


• Hearing difficulties become evident at this stage. A child with a history of ear infections should have his hearing evaluated.


• Cannot grasp the concept of past and future.


 


• Rhymes words.


• Shows pre-reading skills, such as identifying words that all start with the same sound (ball, bat, bacon).


• Recognizes that words can be broken into parts or syllables.


• Can manipulate words, such as “p at = pat,” “m at = mat.”


• Seek an evaluation if a 7-year-old cannot produce all sounds and sound combinations.

 See also:

  • How Children Learn to Speak and What to Do If You Suspect Problems 

  • Common Speech Problems
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