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Speech-Language Pathology

Speech Milestones

American Academy of Pediatrics Language Milestones

Age Receptive Language Expressive Language
Birth to 3 Months • Attends to voices/sounds (may quiet, vary suck pattern)

• Shows preference for parental voice

• May orient to voice by turning eyes or head

• Startles/blinks/cries to loud sounds

• Has differential cries

• Vocalizes (coos, gurgles)

• Vocalizes back and forth with caregiver

3 to 6 Months • Works to localize voices/sounds

• Responds to change in tone/emotion

• Enjoys rattles/ toys that make noise

• Responds to own name (6 months)

• Exhibits vocal play with emotional content

• Babbles with single syllables (/p/, /b/, /d/, /m/)

6 to 9 Months • Looks to family member when named

• Begins to understand words and picture names

• Understands basic concepts such as “no,” “all gone,” “bye-bye”

• Babbles, uses strings of syllables with intonation (canonical babbling)

• Uses “mama,” “dada” non-specifically

9 to 12 Months • Understands verbal cues for practiced routines (e.g., “peek-a-boo”)

• Recognizes words for common items

• Responds to simple requests (“come here,” “give me”)

• Looks when name is called

• Receptive vocabulary is approximately 70 words

• Uses “mama,” “dada” specifically

• Points with index finger

• Gestures to communicate (reaches to be picked up, waves bye)

• Imitates speech sounds

• Uses 1 or 2 true words

12 to 15 Months • Follows one-step direction

• Shakes or nods head appropriately

• Points to body part when named (15 months)

• Rapidly increases receptive vocabulary

• Jargons with tone and rhythm of speech

• Shakes or nods head appropriately

• Use of 3 to 6 words

15 to 18 Months • Understands simple pronouns (“you,” “me”)

• Points to objects/pictures (18 months)

• Recognizes common objects by name

• Repeats words

• Says “no”

• Uses 5 to 50 words mixed with jargon

• Uses words for wants/needs

• Learns new words weekly

18 to 24 Months • Follows two-step directions

• Enjoys simple stories, being read to

• Experiences a language “explosion,” learning new words daily

• Uses two-word phrases/telegraphic speech

• Begins to use simple pronouns

• Has an average vocabulary of 200 Words by 2 years

• Speech 50% intelligible by 2 years

24 to 30 Months • Understands pronouns (“you,” “me,” “my,” “mine”)

• Understands some prepositions (e.g., in, on, under)

• Identifies objects by use

• Has decreased jargon and repeating

• Commonly uses 2- to 3-word sentences

• Increasingly uses pronouns; some adjectives, adverbs, prepositions

• Asks simple questions

• Joins songs/nursery rhymes

30 to 36 Months • Follows 2- to 3-step directions

• Understands most common objects and pictures

• Points to different actions in pictures

• Identifies several colors

• Answers questions

• Helps to tell simple story

• Average vocabulary: 900 to 1,000 words

• Uses 4- to 5-word sentences by 3 years

• Speech ~75% intelligible by 3 years

36 to 48 Months • Listens with interest to conversations, longer stories

• Points to object by category

• Understands concepts of relative amount/size

• Understands past tense

• Uses 5- to 6-word sentences by 4 years

• Can state name, age, gender

• Talks about experiences

• Has fully intelligible speech by 4 years

48 to 60 Months • Uses complex sentence structure and includes much detail

• Uses irregular past tense, future tense

• Tells longer stories, staying on topic

• Can rhyme words and use some letters and numbers

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