Speech & Language Developmental Milestones


If your child is not on track with the following speech/language development milestones, you should talk to your pediatrician.  

Here are the milestones to look for in normal speech development:

Birth: Cries

2-3 months:  Cries differently in different circumstances; coos in response to you

3-4 months: Babbles randomly

5-6 months: Babbles rhythmically

6-11 months: Babbles in imitation of real speech, with expression

12 months:  Says 1-2 words; recognizes name; imitates familiar sounds; understands simple instructions 

Between 1 and 2 years:  Says 2-word sentences; vocabulary is growing; waves goodbye; makes “sounds” of familiar animals; uses words (like “more”) to make wants known; understands “no”

Between 2 and 3 years:  Identifies body parts; calls self “me” instead of name; combines nouns and verbs; has a 450 word vocabulary; uses short sentences; matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little; likes to hear same story repeated; forms some plurals

Between 3 and 4 years:  Can tell a story; sentence length of 4-5 words; vocabulary of about 1000 words; knows last name, name of street, several nursery rhymes

Between 4 and 5 years: Sentence length of 4-5 words; uses past tense; vocabulary of about 1500 words; identifies colors, shapes; asks many questions like “why?” and “who?”

Between 5 and 6 years: Sentence length of 5-6 words; vocabulary of about 2000 words; can tell you what objects are made of; knows spatial relations (like “on top” and “far”); knows address; understands same and different; identifies a penny, nickel and dime; counts ten things; knows right and left hand; uses all types of sentences

If your child is not meeting these milestones, the first step is to get his/her hearing checked.  Even if kids seem to hear just fine, theyare experts at picking up visual cues to get by.  It’s important to catch hearing loss early for treatment, or eliminate it as a concern altogether.

If you have concerns regarding a possible speech or language delay, it’s important to seek help early.  The earlier your child gets help, the greater his/her progress will be.  It is difficult to know for certain if a child is a late bloomer or has a delay; however, if he/she is a late bloomer, the extra attention to their speech will not have hurt in any way.