Early Milestones for Speech and Language Development


Retrieved from http://www.asha.org/bhsm/

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!!  In honor of this,  I thought now would be a good time to review some of the normal milestones for early speech and language development.  Listed below are just a FEW that we (SLPs) look for when evaluating young children.  These specific milestones were obtained from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA),  our official governing body for Speech-Language Pathologists.

Important Milestones for Early Speech and Language Development

By One Year

  • Long Strings of Babbling are Present (e.g., dadabadabada)
  • Has One or Two Words around First Birthday
  • Imitates Speech Sounds
  • Recognizes Words for Common Items (e.g., juice, cup)
  • Enjoys Simple Predictable Games (e.g., Peek-a-Boo)

One to Two Years

  • Says More Words Every Month
  • Puts Two Words Together (“More Juice” )
  • Points to Pictures in Books When Named
  • Follows Simple Commands
  • Points to a Few Body Parts When Asked

Two to Three Years

  • Follows Two-Part Directions (“Get the cup and bring it to me.”)
  • Has a Word for Almost Everything
  • Speech is Understood by Familiar Listeners Most of the Time, Uses K, G, F, T, D,  and N sounds
  • Uses Two to Three Word Phrases/Sentences
  • Listens to and Enjoys Hearing Stories for Longer Periods of Time

Three to Four Years

  • Answers Simple “Wh” Questions (who, what, where, why)
  • Uses Sentences That Have Four or More Words
  • Speech is Now Understood Easily by Unfamiliar Listeners
  • Plays Simple Games and Engages in Complex Pretend Play
  • Enjoys Talking About Daily Activities

Four to Five Years

  • Hears and Understands Most of What is Understood at Home and School
  • Pays Attention to a Short Story and Answers Questions About Them
  • Uses Sentences That Give Lots of Details and Tells Stories
  • Says most sounds correctly except a few like L,  S,  R, V,  Z, CH, SH, and TH
  • Communicates Easily with Adults and Children

Generally speaking, the above milestones are usually met during the ages listed in normal speech and language development.  If you are ever concerned or have questions about your child’s development,  please don’t hesitate to shoot me a quick email.  I’m more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have or help point you in the right direction!


About Kelly

Wife, Mom to two precious little girls, and Speech-Language Pathologist who is passionate about helping all children develop their very best communication skills while making learning fun, creative and meaningful along the way!
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