Speech and Language Milestones

Birth to 3 Months

- Makes pleasure sounds (cooing)

- Quiets or smiles when spoken to

- Seems to recognize your voice and quiet if crying

- Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to


- Cries differently for different needs

- Smiles when sees you

4 to 6 Months

- Moves eyes in direction of sounds

- Responds to changes in tone of your voice

- Notices toys that make sounds

- Pays attention to music

- Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different

sounds, including p, b, and m

- Laughs

- Vocalizes excitement and displeasure

7 Months to 1 Year

- Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

- Turns and looks in the direction of sounds

- Listens when spoken to

- Recognizes words for common items like "cup" or "shoe"

- Begins to respond to requests ("Come here")

- Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such

"tata upup bibibibi"

- Uses speech and non-crying sounds to get and keep


- Uses gestures to communicate (waving)

- Imitates different speech sounds

- Has 1 or 2 words (hi, dog, dada, mama) around first

birthday, although all sounds might not be clear

1 to 2 Years

- Points to a few body parts when asked

- Follows single directions and understands simple

questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby")

- Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes

- Points to pictures in a book when named

- Says more words every month

- Uses some 1-2 word questions ("where kitty?" "go bye-


- Puts 2 words together ("more cookie,", "no juice")

- Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning

of words

2 to 3 Years

- Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop," "in-on")

- Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the


- Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of


- Has a word for almost everything

- Uses 2-3 words to talk about and ask for things

- Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds

- Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time

- Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming


3 to 4 Years

- Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where" and "why"


- Identifies colors

- Understands function of objects

- Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes

- People outside family usually understand child's speech

- Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words

- Usually talks easily without repeating syllables

4 to 5 Years

- Pays attention to short stories and answers simple

questions about them

- Understands words that involve sequencing (first, next,

last) and time (yesterday, today, tomorrow)

- Uses sentences that give lots of details ("The biggest peach

is mine.")

- Tells stories that stick to a topic

- Communicates easily with other children and adults

- Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, j, ch,

sh, th

- Says rhyming words

- Says some letters and numbers

- Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family

*Adapted from Talking on th Go by D. Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP and D. Paul, Ph.D, CCC-SLP