Communication Milestones

Birth to 3 months:  Did your baby pass his/her newborn hearing screening?  Babies start to learn language at birth by hearing voices/sounds and turning/looking for the sound source..  The integration of early reflexes is also essential to future skill development. 

4-6 months:  Is your child making sounds (cooing and babbling) and beginning to use these sounds to get your attention?  At this age, infants should also begin to imitate facial expressions, gestures and additional sounds.

6-9 months: How are your child's feeding skills? These are the same movements that are later used to make speech sounds.  You can also introduce your child to a straw as early as 6 months and should stop using the bottle by at least 12 months of age.  Did you know that by teaching simple signs to your child, as early as 6 months of age, can help facilitate communication?

7-12 months:  Does your child respond to his/her name? Does he/she look at/for family members and a few objects when named?  Children at this age understand more than they can say. They should be making consistent sounds to get your attention.

1-2 years: Is your child using “real words?” By 18 months, your child should use about 10-20 words and around 40-200 words around 2 years of age.   Teaching children simple signs can bridge/enhance their gesture and communication skills, minimizing everyone's frustration.

2-3 years:  Is your child combining at least two words? The "terrible twos" should include the use of two word phrases (e.g., "more juice") and following related directions (e.g., "get the ball and put it in the box").

3-4 years: Is your child understood by others? The speech sounds /p b, m, n, t, d, w, k, g/ are typically mastered at this age, but some more difficult consonants (e.g. /s, l, r/) may still be substituted with different sounds.  How a child's mouth is developing may impact this "natural" progression of speech sounds.

4-5 years:  Is your child speaking in grammatically correct sentences? Children at this age start talking in longer sentences with more grammatical structures (e.g., pronouns).  This “burst of language” sometimes results in “stuttering”.  A period of normal disfluency  (e.g. repeating whole words) is typical as a child is learning language, but shouldn't increase in intensity, duration or type.

5-6 years:  Is your child understanding stories and following directions at school or in social groups?  Some children who have auditory/language processing disorders have more difficulty learning abstract vocabulary and following more complex directions.  These can impact your child’s academic and social skills.