Is My Child Speech / Language Developing Normally?
Many parents phone concerned about their child’s speech and language.
Initially, parents should be advised by a Speech Pathologist to see an ENT to have their child’s hearing tested.
There are milestones that are used as the general guide:
By 2 Months a child:
- should begin smiling at familiar and unfamiliar people as they respond to facial gestures.
- should react in some manner to loud noises.
- will turn its head to a familiar voice (mother / father)
- track objects with its eyes.
By 4 months a child:
- Should smile at people
- Should interact with people with eye / hand movement (e.g. Attempt to reach for a toy).
- Should cry with different tones: when hungry/ tired / when left alone
- Should be beginning to babble
- Start to copy the babble that is used by an adult
By 6 months a child:
- should respond to sounds
- should enjoy playing with others (mother / father/ older sibling)
- responds to their name by turning their head
- stringing vowels and beginning to say consonants (d,d,d,d,d)
- gurgling to show pleasure
By 9 months a child;
- knows the difference between the familiar face and unfamiliar face
- is beginning to understand certain words (e.g. ‘no’)
- can copy the gestures and sounds of adults / children.
- Is beginning to point to an object as a form of communication.
By 1 year a child:
- Makes sounds / gestures to communicate (e.g. shakes head for ‘no’).
- Uses variation in voice for different needs.
- Is beginning to say ‘mamma’ and ‘dadda’
- Is able to track where objects have been hidden
- Should begin to look at books and focus on specific objects on the page when pointed to
By 18 months a child:
- Should be saying several single words (mumma/ dadda) or at least making approximations of the intended word (bottle (bobo)
- Can articulate the words ‘yes’ / ‘no’ clearly.
- Move his / her head appropriately for ‘yes’ / ‘no’.
- Point to objects he may want
- Will put his / her hands up to communicate that he /s he wants to be picked up.
- Can pretend play (e.g. picks up phone and babbles)
- Can follow a 1 step instruction (e.g. get cup/ suit down/ stand up/ clap hands).
By 2 years a child:
- Should have a vocabulary of between 300 to 1000 words
- Should be speaking in 2 to 4 words sentences.
- Can follow simple 1 -2 step instructions (get your shoes and come to the door).
- Can identify objects in a book through pointing.
- Can naming common objects or making their associated noise (e.g. ‘cow’ or the child may point to the animal and say, “moo’)
- Should be showing curiosity
- Should be copying simple words
- Should know the names of the main body parts and point to them oh his/ her own body and another body.
- Should be making eye contact
- Should be able to tap / gesture to get a person’s attention
- Should be able to hear and learn the intonation for nursery rhymes and join in
- Is beginning to complete simple peg puzzles
- Should be able to join in the cants found in fairy tales ( e.g “Fi -FI-FO FUM….”.)
By 2 ½ years a child:
- Should have a vocabulary of 5000 words.
- This age is when children’s vocabulary explodes and is a significant time for language development.
By 3 years a child:
- Should be able to follow 2-3 step instruction (e.g. get your lunch box, drink bottle and pit them in your bag).
- Should have a vocabulary of over 5000 words
- Make eye contact; parallel play with peers; engage in turn taking conversation.
- Copy adults and peers.
- Can listen to a 10-minute story.
- Can answer Blank Level 1 & 2 (comprehension)
- Should be able to name common shapes and colours
- Should be able to speak in whole sentences that are mainly grammatically correct.
- Should be able to be understaood 75% of the time by familiar listeners and 50% by unfamiliar listeners.
- Can join in chants and nursery rhymes.
- Should be able to understand propositional language ( e.g. ‘in’ ‘on’ ‘under’)
- Should be able to communicate needs and wants
An amazing website to find out more information on typically developing milestones in children from birth to three years is: