Language Development

AGE Understanding Talking
Birth-3 months Startles to loud sounds Makes cooing sounds
Comforted by caregiver’s voice Has different cries for different needs
Smiles at people
4-6 months Moves eyes in direction of sounds. Coos and babbles when playing alone or with you.
Notices that toys make sounds. Makes speech like babbling sounds like pa, ba, and mi.
Pays attention to music. Giggles and laughs
Responds to changes in tone of your voice. Makes sounds when happy or upset.
7 months-1 year Turns and looks in the direction of sounds. Babbles longer strings of sounds, like mimi upup babababababa.
Looks when you point. Uses sounds and gestures to get and keep attention.
Turns to own name when you call. Points to objects and shows them to others.
Recognizes words for familiar objects and people. Uses gestures like waving bye-bye, reaching to be picked up, or shaking head no.
Begins to respond to simple words and phrases like “no”, “come here”, and “want more?” Imitates different speech sounds.
Plays games with you , like peekaboo and pat-a-cake. Says one or two words  like:  hi, dog, dada, mama, uh-oh around first birthday.  All words may not be clear.
Listens to songs and stories for a short time.
1-2 years Points to a few body parts when you ask. Uses a lot of new words.
Follows 1-part directions like “roll the ball” or “kiss the baby”. Uses /p, b, m, h, w/ in words.
Understands simple questions like “who is that?” and  “Where is your shoe?” Starts to name pictures in books.
Listens to stories, songs, and rhymes for a longer time. Asks “What”, “Who”, and “Where” questions like “What’s that?” “Who’s that?” and “Where’s kitty?”
Points to pictures in books when you name them. Puts two words together like “More apple.” “No bedtime”, and “Mommy book.”
2-3 years Understands opposite words like “go-stop”, “big-little”, and “up-down” Has a word for familiar people, places, things and actions.
Follows 2 part directions like “Get the spoon and put it on the table.” Talks about things that are not in the room.
Understands new words quickly. Talks during pretend play, like saying “beep beep” when moving cars.
Uses /k, g, f, d, and n/ in words.
Uses words like “in, on, under”.
Asks “Why?”
Familiar people understand your child’s speech.
Puts 3 words together to talk about and ask for things.  May repeat some words and sounds.
3-4 years  Understands words for family, like:  brother, grandmother, aunt. Answers simple “who”, “what”, and “where” questions.
Understands words for some colors Says rhyming words like: hat-cat, silly-billy…
Responds when you call from another room. Uses pronouns, like: I, you, we , me, they…
Understands words for some shapes like: circle, and square. Uses some plural “s” words like: toys, birds, and buses…
Most people understand your child’s speech.
Asks “when” and “how” questions.
Puts four words together.  May make some grammatical  mistakes
Talks about what happened during the day.  Uses about 4 sentences at a time.
4-5 years Understands words for order like: first, next, last. Says all speech sounds in words.  May make mistakes on sounds that are harder to say such as /l,s,r,v,z,j,ch,sh,andth/.
Understands words for time like:  yesterday, today, tomorrow. Responds to “What did you say?”
Follows longer directions like “Put your pajamas on , brush your teeth, and then pick out a book.” Talks without repeating words most of the time.
Follows classroom directions, like “Draw a around something that you eat.” Names letters and numbers.
Understands most of what is said at home and at school. Uses more complex sentence structures. May make some grammatical errors.
Tells a short story.
Keeps a conversation going.
Talks in different ways depending on the listener and place.  May use short sentences with younger children or talk louder when playing outside than inside.
From “How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?”—American Speech-Language-Hearing Association,