3 to 6 Months

  • Responds to changes in tone of your voice
  • Notices toys that make noise
  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds​
  • Makes babbling sounds that are similar to speech (different sounds including p, b, and m; using intonation)

6 to 12 Months

  • Uses gestures like waving or holding arms up to be picked up
  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, or “book”
  • Has at least one real word

When to Contact an SLP

  • Child doesn’t respond to noises
  • Child is not babbling (consonant-vowel combinations) by 9 months

2-3 Years

  • Understands some differences in meaning like “go-stop,” “big-little”, “up-down”  
  • Uses 3 words at a time
  • Follows two step directions (“get the doll and put it on the table”)
  • Listens and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time
  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses /m,p,b,t,d,n,k,g,s,h,w/ consonant sounds
  • Speech is understood least 80% of the time by others
  • Begins to ask “why?”

When to Contact an SLP

  • Child does not use 2-3 word phrases consistently

  • Child uses limited speech sounds (prefers certain sounds versus a variety)

  • Child is difficult to understand by adults familiar with the child’s speech

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​​​Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?

We know every child is unique and develops at his or her own pace. However, there are standard speech and language developmental milestones to look for at every age. Research consistently shows that if there are any concerns, it is always best to seek the advice of a Speech-Language Pathologist as early as possible. The sooner intervention can begin, the better the outcome.

This is a brief list of speech and language milestones for birth through five years. For more detailed information, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Birth to 3 Months

  • Becomes quiet and/or smiles when spoken to
  • Startles to loud sounds
  • Makes pleasure sounds, such as cooing (‘ahhh’ ‘eee’)Becomes quiet and/or smiles when spoken to
  • Startles to loud sounds

18-24 Months

  • Uses a variety of consonant and vowel sounds
  • Uses 2-3 word phrases
  • Speech is understood at least 50% of the time
  • Uses approximately 150 different words

When to Contact an SLP

  • Child does not respond to his name

  • Child is not using two word phrases by 24 months

12 to 18 Months

  • Begins to say two words together like “car go” and “mama up”
  • Points to a few body parts
  • Follows simple directions (like “Pick up the block,” or “Where’s your cup?”)
  • Uses approximately 50 different words

When to Contact an SLP

  • Child has 10 words or less by 18 months

3-4 Years

  • Understands some colors and shapes
  • Hears you when you call from another room
  • Talks about what happened during the day, using about 4 sentences at a time
  • Answers simple “wh” questions (“who?”, “what?”, “where?” “why?”, “when?)
  • Asks “how?” questions
  • Uses 4+ words at a time
  • Uses some pronouns (I, you, me, we, they)
  • Uses plural -s (books, toys) 

When to Contact an SLP

  • Child has difficulty answering simple questions

  • Child does not respond to his or her name

  • Child has difficulty being understood by those not familiar with the child’s speech

  • Child has difficulty following directions with more than one step

  • Child has limited vocabulary or short sentences (most are less than 4 words) 

4-5 Years

  • Talks without repeating sounds or words most of the time
  • Responds to “What did you say?”
  • Understands words for order (first, next and last)
  • Understands words for time (yesterday, today and tomorrow)
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
  • Uses all speech sounds in words but may make mistakes on harder sounds such as  /l, r, ch, sh, th/
  • Tells a story
  • Keeps conversation going
  • Talks in different ways depending on the listener and place (use short sentences with younger children or talk louder outside than inside)  

When to Contact an SLP

  • Difficulty being understood by those not familiar with the child’s speech

  • Difficulty saying the following sounds /m, p, b, t, d, n, f, k, g, ng, s, w, h/

  • Child has difficulty maintaining conversation

  • Child has difficulty telling and/or retelling a short story

  • Child has difficulty with pronouns or verb tenses