Speech and Language Milestones

Select the age of your child to see the milestones:

Hearing & Understanding
(7 months - 1 year)

  • Turns and looks in the direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, “juice”
  • Responds to name
  • Begins to respond to simple requests (“come here”,  “want more”)
  • Smiles when smiled at and can follow eye gaze

Talking & Play Skills
(7 months - 1 year)

  • Babbling with both long and short groups of sounds “tata upup bibibibib”
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1 or 2 words (bye-bye, dad, mama)
  • Enjoys games like peak-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Joint attention
  • Reacts to emotions

Hearing & Understanding
(1 - 2 years)

  • Points to a few body parts
  • Follows 1-2 step directions and understands simple questions (“roll the ball”, “kiss the baby”, “go get your shoes”)
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Identifies an object in a picture book
  • Points to pictures in a book when named
  • Points to a few body parts when asked

Talking & Play Skills
(1 - 2 years)

  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some 1-2 word questions (where kitty? go bye-bye?)
  • Puts 2 words together (more cookie, no juice, mommy book)
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words
  • Points to objects to get others engaged (joint attention)
  • Plays near other children, begins to imitate
  • Greets others, takes turns
  • Brings objects to adult, requests action with words/ gestures

Hearing & Understanding
(2 - 3 years)

  • Hears when you call from another room
  • Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, “why?” questions
  • Follows 2-3 step directions
  • Understands concepts “inside”, “under”, “on top”
  • Points to 5-6 parts of a doll when asked

Talking & Play Skills
(2 - 3 years)

  • Has a word for almost everything (50-200 words)
  • Uses 2-3 words to talk about and ask for things
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them
  • Acts out simple themes from own experience
  • Talks to self during play

Hearing & Understanding
(3 - 4 years)

  • Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop”, “in-on”, “big-little”, “up-down”)
  • Follows 2 requests (“Get the book and put it on the table”)
  • Understands action words (“jump, run, wash”) and descriptive words (“big, wet, little”)
  • Matches objects to pictures

Talking & Play Skills
(3 - 4 years)

  • Talks about activities completed earlier  from school or home
  • People outside the family understand the child’s speech
  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words
  • Cooperative play begins
  • Begins to share and show empathy and emotions
  • Able to maintain a topic

Hearing & Understanding
(4 - 5 years)

  • Pays attention to short stories and answers simple questions
  • Hears and understands most of what is said in school
  • Understands spatial concepts (under, in back of,  in front of)
  • Makes inferences  from pictures and stories
  • Understands and can produce rhyming words
  • Can clap out multi-syllable words

Talking & Play Skills
(4 - 5 years)

  • Says most sounds correctly except l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh, th.
  • Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family
  • Uses sentences that give lots of details (I like to read by books)
  • Tells stories that stick to topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Understand that other people have thoughts