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Signs of Early Communication Problems

Please contact us if your child has any of the speech/language or behavioral problems listed below:

Under 18 months old

  • Does not coo and babble or use one or more words by one year of age.
  • Does not understand a few simple words like “mama” and a few familiar objects like “juice.”
  • Does not engage in turn taking with facial expression or gaze.
  • Does not imitate large motor movements or imitate vocalizations.

At 18 months old

  • Does not use at least eight-10 words or is not talking at all.
  • Does not wave and/or say “hi” and “bye-bye.”
  • Does not use words to communicate, but continues to rely on gestures, pointing and leading an adult to a desired object.
  • Does not respond to very simple requests, directions and questions such as “No,” “Don’t,” “Come here” or “Do you want more?”
  • Does not follow several simple verbal directions such as “Give me the ____” or “Show me your nose.”
  • Does not look at you when talking or playing.
  • Does not follow your pointing or desired object with their gaze.
  • Does not play in close proximity to other children.

At 2 years old

  • Does not put words together to form simple phrases (“more milk”) .
  • Does not follow simple directions involving familiar objects, such as “Get the ball and put it on the table.”
  • Cannot look at books for at least a few minutes at a time or does not point to pictures of familiar objects in the book as you name them.
  • Is not easily understood at least 50 percent of the time by adults and peers.

At 3 years old

  • Is not using three- and four-word sentences.
  • Cannot answer simple questions such as “Who is that?” “What do you want?” “What is your doll’s name?” “Where is your red truck?”
  • Does not accurately answer “yes/no” questions.
  • Adults and peers cannot understand 75 percent of what he or she is saying.
  • Words endings are consistently missing.
  • Does not play.