Speech and Language Developmental Milestones:

Children acquire speech and language skills at different rates. However, most follow a natural progression for mastering speech and language skills. Here are general speech and language stages:

Birth-1 Year

Speech Milestones:

  • Coos at 3 months
  • Begins to babble at 6 months1-year
  • Produces vowel sounds and consonants (p, b, m, k, g)
  • Produces repetitive long and short sounds (dada, bibi)
  • Babbles non-repetitively (e.g., Ga-do-ba-di)

Language Milestones:

  • Follows sounds with his or her eyes
  • Responds to “no”
  • Cries differently for wants and needs
  • Responds to questions and requests (“Want more?” “Come here”)
  • Recognizes own name and family members names
  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving good bye, reaching arms up to be carried)
  • Understands common words, such as, mama, dada, juice
  • Begins to say a couple words like “mama” or “dada”
1-2 Years

Speech Milestones:1-2-years

  • At 2 years, child begins to use different consonant and vowel combinations
  • Speech is mostly understood by family and friends
  • Most words contain only a consonant and vowel (“ca” for “cat”)

Language Milestones:

  • Begins to say first words (10-15 months)
  • Uses more than 50 words and understands more than 300
  • Produces common phrases (uh-oh, all gone, bye-bye)
  • Adds new words constantly
  • Produces 2 word phrases (“Where ball?” “no daddy”)
  • Knows common body parts
  • Follows simple directions (“Get your shoes” “throw the ball”)
  • Can point to pictures in a book when asked, “Where’s the cookie?”
2-3 Years

Speech Milestones:

  • Produces consonant sounds: p, b, m, n, w, h, t, d, k, g, ng, y.
  • Speech is 50-75% understood by an unfamiliar listener
  • Often shortens words or leaves out the middle sounds2-3-years
  • Some substitutions and distortions of consonants

Language Milestones:

  • Produces 3 word phrases (“I want cookie”)
  • Uses 250-400 words and understands about 900 words
  • Names familiar objects in his environment
  • Asks yes/no questions (“Is he playing”)
  • Repeats sentences of 6-7 syllables accurately
  • Begins to understand differences between opposites (big/little, stop/go)
  • Answers and asks simple “wh”-questions (e.g., “where’s mommy”)
  • Follows 2 simple directions (“Get your shoes and put it on”)
  • Identifies actions in pictures
3-4 Years

Speech Milestones:

  • Speech is more accurate, but may still distort some difficult sounds
  • Speech is 75-90% understood by an unfamiliar listener
  • Strangers are able to understand much of what is said
  • Most phonological processes are disappearing.
  • The ones continuing after 4 include: Stopping (“tock” for “sock”), Gliding (“wight” for “light”) and cluster reduction (“poon” for “spoon”)

Language Milestones:

  • Produces 4-5 word sentences3-4-year
  • Uses 1,000-1,500 words and understands 1,500-2,000 words
  • Can say name, age, gender
  • Can tell stories and have long conversations
  • Asks “how,” “why,” and “when” questions
  • Answers, “how much” and “how long” questions
  • Describes the function of objects
  • Answers simple questions
  • Follows 2-3 step commands
  • Understands simple special concepts (front/behind, in/on)
  • Recognizes almost all common objects
  • Identifies colors and basic shapes
  • Groups objects, such as food and clothes
  • Knows pronouns (you, me, her) and descriptive words (small, happy)
4-5 Years

Speech Milestones:4-5-year

  • Uses most consonant sounds consistently and accurately
  • Speech is 90% understood by an unfamiliar listener
  • All phonological processes should stop by 5 years
  • May still have errors with (r, l, s, and th)

Language Milestones:

  • Uses 1,500 + words and understands between 1,500-2,800 words
  • Produces 5-6 words sentences
  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Shows understanding of sequence (first/middle/last)
  • Knows prepositions (between, above, top bottom)
  • Asks “what do/did/” questions
  • Follows 3 step commands
  • Understands same and different
  • Classifies according to form, color, use
  • Asks and defines meanings of words
  • Lists items that belong in a category
5-6 Years

Speech Milestones:

  • Speech is almost 100%intelligible
  • May still have errors for sounds (s, r, z, th), but should be decreasing

Language Milestones:

  • Understands 13,000 words (by age 6)
  • Speaks 5 + word sentences
  • Grammar is nearly normal
  • Uses simple and complex sentences
  • Tells longer stories
  • Knows the label, category and function of common objects
  • Follows 3 step directions
  • Understands opposites (“The opposite of cold is…”)
6-7 Years

Speech Milestones:

  • Speech is 100% intelligible
  • Sounds mastered by age 7: r, j, sh, ch, voiceless th (by age 8: voiced th, s, z, v)6-7-year
  • Blends mastered by age 7: dr, cl, bl, gl, tr, st, sl, sw, sp
  • Consonants mastered by age 7: sh

Language Milestones:

  • Understands 20,000-26,000 words
  • Says alphabet in order
  • Sight reads 10 printed words
  • Can tell whole address
  • Identify and match upper and lower case letters
  • Prints full name