All children develop speech and language skills at different times. We as speech language pathologists, however, become concerned when children are falling significantly below their age level for both understanding and talking. Here are a few guidelines you can use to see if your children are developing speech and language skills appropriately

HEARING & UNDERSTANDING7 months-1 yearEnjoys games like peak-a-boo and pat-a-cakeTurns and looks in the direction of soundsListens when spoken toRecognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, “juice”Begins to respond to simple requests (“come Here”, “want more”) 7 months-1 yearTALKING7 months-1 yearBabbling with both long and short groups of sounds “tata upup bibibibi”Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attentionImitates different speech sounds
-Has 1 or 2 words (“bye, bye, dada, mama”)
1-2 yearsPoints to a few body partsFollows 1-2 step directions and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball, “kiss the baby”, “Go get your shoes”)Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymesPoints to pictures in a book when named1-2 yearsSays more words every monthUses some 1-2 word questions (“where kitty?”, “go bye-bye”?, “what’s that?”)Put 2 words together (“more cookie”, “no juice”, “mommy book”)Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words
2-3 yearsHears when you call from another roomAnswers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, “why” questionsFollows 2-3 step directions2-3 yearsHas a word for almost everythingUses 2-3 words to talk about and ask for thingsSpeech is understood by familiar listeners most of the timeOften asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them
3-4 yearsunderstands 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”)3-4 yearsTalks about activities completed earlier such as from school or a friends homePeople outside the family understands the child’s speechUses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more wordsUsually talks easily without repeating syllables or words
4-5 yearsPays attention to short stories and answers simple questions about itHears and understands most of what is said at home and in schoolUnderstands spatial concepts (under, in back of, next to, in front of)Makes inferences (“what will happen if.”) from pictures and storiesUnderstands and can produce rhyming wordsCan clap out multi-syllable words4-5 yearsVoice sounds clear like other children’sUses sentences that give lots of details (“I like to read my books”)Tells stories that stick to topicCommunicates easily with other children and adultsSays most sounds correctlyUses the same grammar as the rest of the family