Speech, Language & Hearing Developmental Milestones at Age 3

Speech, Language & Hearing Developmental Milestones at Age 3

Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center Parent Tip of the Week

By Michelle Foye MA CCC-SLP, Director
of Speech Language and Learning Services
Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

While each child develops at a different rate, there are some milestones that can generally be expected by certain ages. This includes certain speech, language and hearing developmental milestones. The list below includes some typical milestones for children who are 3 years old.

(Check out these posts regarding younger children: milestones for babies who are 6 months oldmilestones for children who are 1 year old, and milestones for children who are 2 years old.)

  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses two- or three- word “sentences” to talk about and ask for things
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time, approximately 80% intelligible
  • Comprehends over 900 words, uses over 500 intelligible words
  • Matches/knows colors
  • Has complicated, sequenced routines for daily activities (ex. meals) and objects to change in those routines
  • Can ask simple questions
  • Yes/no questions are emerging
  • Answers simple “who, why, where, how many” questions
  • Repeats a sentence of 6-7 syllables accurately
  • Dramatization and imagination begin to enter play
  • Beginning interest in cooperative play
  • Is able to wait his turn
  • Will put toys away with some supervision
  • Names own drawing
  • Builds tower of nine blocks
  • Auxiliary “is/am + ing” (girl is running)
  • Regular past tense verbs appear (walk/walked)
  • Uses “s” for possession (Daddy’s car)
  • Uses pronouns: I, me, you, mine (he, she, and it emerging)
  • Negative “not” emerging
  • Uses contracted form of “is” (he’s running)
  • Adverbs of location emerging (here, there)
  • Begins to use “do,” “can,” and “will” (emerging future tense)
  • Uses imperatives (commands: go get it, don’t, etc.)
  • Engages in short dialogues
  • Verbally introduces and changes topic of discussion
  • Expresses emotion
  • Uses attention getting words such as “hey”
  • Clarifies and requests clarification in conversation
  • Pre-narrative development begins with heaps and sequences
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them
  • Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up-down”)
  • Follows two requests (“Get the book and put it on the table.”)

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