Speech and Language Milestones

Speech and Language Milestones

Birth – Three Months

Makes throaty sounds, goos and gurgles
Moves eyes to source of sound and tends to voice

By Three Months

Coos in vowel like sounds
Squeals and chuckles
Maintains eye contact with familiar speaker

By Six Months

Babbles with same consonant-vowel syllables (ba-ba)
Cries differently when hungry, uncomfortable, tired
Attempts to imitate pitch changes in other’s voices

By Nine Months

Imitates babbling sounds produced by adults with varied consonant-vowel combinations
Uses pitch variations in vocal play
Eye contact increases
Comprehends “no” and will inhibit to its use
Initiates vocalization and uses different vocalizations for different intents

By Twelve Months

Uses a wide variety of sounds and jabbers loudly
Understands five words in additional to own name
Follows one step directions
Knows three body parts
Hands toy to adults when asked
Waves bye-bye
May say first words
Uses intonation

By Eighteen Months

Uses sentence like intonation
Understands new words everyday
Responds to simple commands without gestures (come here, sit down)
Imitates words spoken by others
Uses jargon with some true words embedded
Says approximately 20 words

By Twenty-four Months

Uses more words than jargon
Speech is approximately 60% understandable
Understands 300 words
Responds to familiar requests (get your shoes, find a book)
Uses single words to request actions or objects (“Shoe” meaning “Put my shoe on.”)
Combines two words consistently (“Daddy work. Doggy go.”)
Answers “What’s your name?”
Uses some pronouns (I, me, you) and prepositions (on, in)
Says 100-200 words but uses fewer words in a core vocabulary

By Three Years

Uses all vowels and p, b, m, w, h, consistently and may use t, d, k, g, s
Leaves off final sounds
Speech is approximately 75% understandable in connected speech
Understands 500-900 words
Carries out a series of two related commands (Go your bedroom and get your pajamas.)
Listens to a 10-20 minute story
Identifies ten objects and five body parts
Knows in, on, under
Uses 2-3 word utterances consistently
Uses 200-500 understandable words
Names six objects by use
Takes conversational turns but changes topic frequently
Starts to answer simple questions involving who, what, where
Uses doll figures to act out simple themes from own experience
Dramatization and imagination begin with realistic props
Waits for a turn

By Four Years

Adds s, y, ing, l, sh, j to sound repertoire (although not mastered)
Speech is almost 100% understandable in connected speech
Understands 1500-2000 words
Responds to commands involving 2-3 actions or objects
Knows “in front of” and “behind”
Uses 4-5 word utterances with an 800-1500 spoken vocabulary
Names 8-10 pictures
States action
Tells two events in order of sequence
Uses plurals (balls), pronouns (he, she), possessives (baby’s hat), present progressive (is running)
Uses complex and compound sentences (and, because)
Uses one object to represent another
Prefers to play in groups of 2-3 children and chooses companion of own sex
Often silly in play and may do things wrong purposely
Likes to dress up
Uses doll or puppet as participant in play and begins to act out scenes

By Five Years

Adds ch, z, th, f, v, zh to sound repertoire
Speech is 100% understandable but developmental errors may occur
Understands 2500-2800 words
Classifies according to form, color, use
Knows concepts between, above, below, top, bottom
Uses 5-8 word sentences with a spoken vocabulary of 1500-2000 words
Defines four words in terms of use
Uses “What do…” “Does….” “Did…” questions
Tells long story accurately
Uses irregular plurals (mice), pronouns (ours, they), possessive pronouns (his, hers) and comparative words (bigger)
Shows off dramatically and plans a sequence of pretend events
Likes working on projects, cutting out and pasting

By Six Years and Older

Almost all consonants mastered
Comprehends over 20,000 words
Sentences are complete in form and are complex
Narratives are more elaborate
Uses conversational skills

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