Milestones

"Do it now! Don’t delay. You have no idea the benefits you give your child by starting early."

The best gauge for your child’s progress is common milestones often used in speech therapy.

1 year

Hearing/Understanding

  • Responds to voice and changes in tone
  • Pays attention to music and toys with sound
  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo
  • Recognizes words for common items like “cup” or “book”
  • Responds to simple requests like “Want more?”

Talking

  • Babbles with p, b, and m sounds
  • Chuckles and laughs
  • Uses non-crying sounds and gestures to get attention
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Uses one or two words like “hi” or “mama”

Signs of a disorder

  • Doesn't smile or interact with others
  • Doesn't babble or vocalize sounds
  • Does not use gestures like waving or pointing

2 years

Hearing/Understanding

  • Points to a few body parts when asked
  • Responds to simple questions like "Where's your shoe?"
  • Listens to simple stories, songs and rhymes
  • Points to pictures in a book when named

Talking

  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some two-word questions like "Go bye-bye?"
  • Puts two words together like "no juice"
  • Uses various consonant sounds at the beginning of words
  • Speech is understood 50% of the time

Signs of a disorder

  • Doesn't understand what others say
  • Says less than 50 words
  • Doesn't put words together to make sentences

3 years

Hearing/Understanding

  • Understands differences in meaning like Go vs. Stop
  • Follows two-step requests, like “Pick up the book and put it on the table”
  • Enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time

Talking

  • Uses up to three words to talk about things
  • Talks with k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds
  • Understood regularly by familiar listeners like family
  • Directs attention to objects by naming them
  • Asks “Why?” Speech is understood 75% of the time

Signs of a disorder

  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children
  • Has problems with early reading and writing skills, i.e., no interest in books or drawing
  • Doesn't combine 3-4 words in spontaneous speech

4 years

Hearing/Understanding

  • Hears you when you call from another room
  • Hears TV at the same loudness level as family members
  • Understands words for some colors and shapes
  • Understands words for family, like brother or sister

Talking

  • Describes their day using multiple sentences
  • Understood regularly by non-familiar listeners (not family)
  • Answers simple questions like “Who?" or “What?”
  • Asks “When?” and “How?” questions
  • Uses pronouns (we, they) and plural words

Signs of a disorder

  • Has difficulty producing b, p, m, n, d, t, k, and g sounds
  • Leaves out the ending sound of words
  • Has trouble answering questions

5 years

Hearing/Understanding

  • Understands words for order, like first, next, and last
  • Understands words for time, like yesterday or today
  • Follows longer directions (three or more requests)
  • Follows classroom directions well
  • Understands most of what is said at home and in school

Talking

  • Makes all speech sounds except v and th
  • Responds to "What did you say?"
  • Talks without repeating sounds or words most of the time
  • Tells a short story
  • Keeps a conversation going

Signs of a disorder

  • Has difficulty producing s, z, r, l, j, sh, and ch sounds
  • Doesn't identify colors or shapes
  • Doesn't answer questions logically
  • Doesn't produce complete sentences with pronouns

Speech Sound Development

As your child’s speech develops, there is a progression that should occur in which specific sounds are to be correctly produced by certain ages. The chart below states what sounds your child should be saying accurately by the appropriate age.  For example, a 3 year-old should correctly be producing the K sound at the beginning of words.  If a 3 year-old is saying “tup” for ‘cup’, this is an indication that his/her speech development is delayed, and a professional should be contacted.

Age    Sounds at the Beginning of Words  Sounds in the Middle of Words Sounds at the End of Words
2 years b, d, h, m, n, p b, m, n m, p
3 years f, g, k, t, w f, g, k, ng, p, t b, d, g, k, n, t
4 years kw d f
5 years ch, j, l, s, sh, y, bl ch, j, l, s, sh, z l, ng, ch, j, s, sh, r, v, z
6 years r, v, br, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, kl, kr, pl, st, tr r, v
7 years z, sl, sp, sw, th th th

These speech sound norms were taken from the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 from 2000.

According to the American Speech and Hearing Association, 64% of parents are unaware of the signs of a communication disorder. To educate yourself further on signs of communication disorders, be sure to read about identifying the signs.  If your child is showing a delay in any areas,  act now and contact a speech-language pathologist.

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