By Michelle Foye, MA CCC-SLP,
Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center.
The following timeline can be used to determine whether your child’s speech is developing at the desired rate. Here’s what to look for at various ages:
Birth to 6 Months
- Responds to sounds (startles, turns head).
- Quiets to familiar voices.
- By 6 months, responds to name being called.
- Vocalizes when talked to.
- Begins to coo.
- Stops what he or she is doing when name is called.
- Responds to simple commands or requests such as “come here” or “stop that.”
- Demonstrates facial expressions and smiles.
- Begins to babble.
- Gestures by reaching and pointing with vocalization.
- Waves bye-bye, gives five, seeks attention from others and plays turn-taking games such as peekaboo.
- Imitates sounds such as: animals (woof, moo) and cars (beep).
- Understands at least 300 words and follows simple directions such as “get diaper,” “throw ball.”
- Points to body parts when named.
- First words emerge around 12 months with a minimum of 50-100 words by age 2.
- Common first words include names (mama, dada), objects (nana – banana), verbs (go, up, eat),yes/no, and please.
- Listeners understand 65% of what your child is saying by age 2.
- Follows a two-step direction such as “Put on your shoes and get your coat.”
- Answers what and where questions.
- Listens to 5-10 minute story.
- Vocabulary expands to approximately 900-1,000 words between age 2 and 3.
- Begins to combine words such as “eat cookie,” “more juice,” “my ball.”
- Continues to expand to 3-4 words by age 3 such as “me eat cookie now.”
- Names a few objects by function.
- Listeners understand approximately 80% of what your child is saying by age 3.
- Follows three-step directions by age 5.
- Understands concepts of quantity (more/less), quality (big/little), and spatial terms (top,bottom, above, below).
- Asks and answers questions (what, where, who, why).
- Vocabulary increases to approximately 1,900 words by 4-1/2; 2,200 by age 5.
- Uses 4-7 word sentences.
- Asks meaning of words.
- Tells long stories.
- Listeners understand almost all of what your child is saying.
- Child shows an interest in books and remembers information from book.
- Recognizes sounds and letters in name.
If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language or learning development, contact Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center. Its Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) can assist in an evaluation and treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs. Call 216-231-8787 or visit chsc.org/speech