Schedule an Appointment
1-800-827-0140

Schedule Appointment

Speech & Language Development in Children

Speech & Language Development in Children

In recognition of Better Hearing & Speech Month, we’re taking a look into how speech and language develop and what milestones you should look for in your child’s development. Early recognition and intervention are key when it comes to treating communication disorders. Below is a hearing and communicative development checklist courtesy of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.

Birth to 3 Months

  • Reacts to loud sounds
  • Calms down or smiles when spoken to
  • Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying
  • When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound
  • Coos and makes pleasure sounds
  • Has a special way of crying for different needs
  • Smiles when he or she sees you

4 to 6 Months

  • Follows sounds with his or her eyes
  • Responds to changes in the tone of your voice
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Pays attention to music
  • Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m
  • Laughs
  • Babbles when excited or unhappy
  • Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you

7 Months to 1 Year

  • Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in the direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Understands words for common items
  • Responds to requests such as "come here"
  • Babbles using long and short groups of sounds ("tata, upup, bibibi")
  • Babbles to get and keep attention
  • Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has one or two words ("Mama", "Dada") by first birthday

1 to 2 Years

  • Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions
  • Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Points to pictures, when named, in books
  • Acquires new words on a regular basis
  • Uses some one- or two-word questions
  • Puts two words together
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words

2 to 3 Years

  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds
  • Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends
  • Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them

3 to 4 Years

  • Hears you when you call from another room
  • Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members
  • Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions
  • Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes
  • Uses sentences with four or more words
  • Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words

4 to 5 Years

  • Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
  • Uses sentences that give many details
  • Tells stories that stay on topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Says most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th)
  • Uses rhyming words
  • Names some letters and numbers
  • Uses adult grammar