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.
• Has a receptive vocabulary of approximately 13,000 words
• Follows 3-part commands
• Knows spatial relations such as “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
• Understands concepts “yesterday/tomorrow, more/less, some/many, most/least, before/after, now/later”
• Identifies triangles, circles, and squares
• Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it
• Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
• Uses sentences of 6 or more words including compound sentences
• Uses past tense correctly
• Asks “who” and “why” questions
• Understands and names opposites (e.g. “hard/soft, big/little, heavy/light”)
• Names days of the week sequentially
• Can state his or her address
• Produces consonants with 90% accuracy
• May still make production errors in the sounds of “r”, “l”, and sound substitution of “f” for “th”
• Stories have main characters with logical sequences of events, but ending is unclear
• Understands and makes promises
• May praise others or seek praise
• Communicates easily with adults and other children
• Plays games by the rules
• Builds elaborate things with blocks
• Plans many sequences of pretend events and uses props and language to develop a theme (e.g. going on a trip to outer space)
What Can Parents Do?
• Read longer stories and ask your child questions about the story using concepts such as before/after and first/middle/last. For example, “What happened before Cinderella’s fairy godmother came?”
• Encourage your child to use words that express emotions. Look through family picture albums and talk about specific events, memories, and feelings that are recalled (e.g.“How did you feel on your birthday?”).
• Expand vocabulary and thinking skills by helping your child explore his or her senses. Ask your child questions such as “How does
it smell?” or “How does it feel?”.
• Help improve your child’s conversational skills by helping him or her stay on topic. Take turns talking, listening, and asking questions.
• Sing songs and rhymes with your child.