Every child develops differently, but the following milestones can help you determine whether your child is gaining speech and language skills at an appropriate level for his or her age. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age range.
• Comprehends approximately 500 words
• Understands new words rapidly
• Identifies several body parts
• Understands “big” and “little”
• Has concept of “one” and “all”
• Responds to yes/no questions
• Listens to 5- to 10-minute stories
• Points to pictures in a book when named
• Follows two requests (e.g. “Get the book and put it on the table”)
• Recognizes family member names
• Understands simple questions
• Has expressive vocabulary of 50 to 250 or more words
• Names everyday objects
• Refers to self by name
• Uses 2 to 3 words to talk about and ask for things
• Uses some prepositions (e.g. “on, down”)
• Starts to use the negative “not”
• Begins to use verbs with“ing” endings (e.g.” walking”)
• Final “s” is used for plurals
• Asks basic questions (e.g. “Daddy gone?”)
• Consistently uses initial consonants (although some are misarticulated)
• Frequently omits medial and final consonants
• Says the following sounds: /p, b, m, t, d/
• Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.
• Engages in short dialogues
• Expresses emotion
• Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them
• Begins using language in imaginative ways
• Uses attention-getting words such as “hey”
• Clarifies and requests clarification
• Parallel play predominates – plays beside other children, not necessarily with them
• Sequences related actions in play such as preparing food for dolls, feeding them and wiping their mouths
• Stays with one activity about 6 to 7 minutes
• Arranges toys in meaningful groups
• Aligns three or more cubes to make train
• Builds towers of six or seven blocks
• Puts toys away with some supervision
• Watches cartoons on TV
What Can Parents Do?
• Talk about the here and now. Talk about objects, people, and events that can be seen, heard, and touched.
• Help your child learn to listen by talking about things that interest the child.
• Talk out loud about what you are doing. By putting your thoughts and actions into words, you are teaching your child language.
• Expand your child’s remarks so that your child hears a good language model.
• Ask open-ended questions that do not result in a yes/no answer (e.g. “What kinds of animals do you like?”)