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MILESTONES—Speech and Language

0-6 months
  • Uses a variety of cries to express different needs

  • Responds to sounds by turning head

  • Uses sounds or gestures to indicate wants

  • Frequently coos and makes pleasure sounds

  • Imitates tongue movements and smiles at familiar faces

  • Looks and smiles at people when talked to

7-12 months
  • Listens to and imitates some adult speech sounds pitch patterns

  • Babbles using long and short groups of sounds

  • Understands phrases like “no-no,” “all gone,” and “bye-bye”

  • Makes some appropriate use of gestures (shakes head for “no”)

  • Begins to change babbling to jargon

  • Uses speech intentionally for the first time

  • Say “mama” or “dada” for parents

13-18 months
  • Looks for hidden objects

  • Points or gestures to communicate needs

  • Talks in single words, often omits sounds

  • Uses jargon and repeats some words

  • Has 3-20 words (mostly nouns) in expressive vocabulary

  • Identifies 1-3 body parts

  • Follows simple directions

 

19-24 months
  • Expressive vocabulary of 50 to 100 words

  • Receptive vocabulary or 300 + words

  • Starts to combine nouns and verbs

  • Begins to use pronouns

  • Is approximately 25-50% intelligible to strangers

  • Names a few familiar objects

  • Identifies 5-6 body parts on a doll

  • Begins to understand adjectives in phrases

 

2-3 years
  • Speech is 50-75% intelligible

  • Consistently uses initial consonants

  • Frequently uses medial consonants

  • Frequently omits or substitutes final consonants

  • Begins to demonstrate turn-taking and sharing behaviors

  • Follows simple commands and answers simple questions

  • Uses 3-4 word phrases

  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 words

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-250 or more words

 

3-4 years
  • Spontaneously uses 4-5 word sentences 

  • Is at least 80% intelligible 

  • Uses irregular plurals, future tense verbs, conjunctions, and contractions 

  • Understands object functions

  • 1,000-2,000+ word receptive vocabulary

  • 800-1,500+ word expressive vocabulary

  • Uses helping verbs in sentences

  • Tells 2 events in chronological order

4-5 years
  • Consistently uses grammatically correct sentences of 4-8 words

  • Completes analogies

  • Identifies all basic colors

  • Likes to pretend and act out stories

  • Understands and answers complex 2-part questions

  • Significantly reduces number of persistent sound omissions and substitutions

5-6 years
  • Follows 3 step directions

  • Asks “how” questions

  • Uses past and future tenses appropriately

  • Uses conjunctions

  • Names opposites

  • Accurately relays a story

  • Exchanges information and asks questions

6-7 years
  • Names letters and numbers

  • Is detailed in descriptions

  • Uses irregular verb forms

  • Names days, months and numbers in order

  • Comprehends future and past tenses

  • Understands humor

  • Wonders about abstract events like how things work

  • Counts to 100

  • Uses most grammar appropriately

  • Has a receptive vocabulary of approximately 20,000 words