Speech & Language Development

This list represents both speech and language and social skills developmental milestones. If your child demonstrates several of the following it is recommended that he/she is evaluated as soon as possible to avoid any further delays.

Birth to 2 months 3 to 5 months
5 to 7 months 7 to 9 months
9 to 12 months 12 to 15 months
15 to 18 months 18 to 24 months
24 to 33 months 33 to 36 months

 Birth to 2 months:

  • Does not cry when hungry or uncomfortable
  • Does not make comfort sounds or sucking sounds
  • Cry does not vary in pitch, length and volume to indicate different needs
  • Difficulty establishing/maintaining a rhythmical suck/swallow pattern
  • Significant loss of breast milk/formula out of side of mouth during feeding

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 3-5 Months:

  • Vocalizes separately from body movements (sound is not a response to body movement)
  • Inability to establish or maintain face to face communication during feeding
  • Does not vocalize in response to sound stimulation
  • Has not begun to laugh by 5 months in response to play
  • Difficulty with feedings such as above

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 5-7 Months:

  • Does not babble during play or in response to stimulation (may suggest a hearing problem)
  • Does not use voice to vocalize attitudes other than crying
  • Does not respond to sound stimulation (indicative of hearing problem)
  • Difficulty with swallowing early solids or other feeding issues

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 7-9 Months:

  •  Does not look toward sounds or own name
  • Is not babbling double consonants (bababa…)
  • Difficulty with textures in foods (gagging, chocking, etc.)
  • Is unable to participate in conversations with adults using babbling noises
  • Does not say “mama” or “dada” nonspecifically
  • Does not use different inflections to produce exclamations

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 9-12 Months:

  •  Is unable to successfully eat early finger foods or munch/bite on foods
  • Cannot babble single consonants such as “ba” or “da”
  • Does not respond to words/language appropriately
  • Does not experiment with language when playing independently
  • Does not participate in conversations by responding with vocalizations

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 12-15 Months:

  •  Does not use inflection during vocalization
  • Is not experimenting with language during play
  • Is not using 1-3 words spontaneously while repeating additional words
  • Does not vocalize or gesture to communicate needs
  • Is not using “no” emphatically and meaningfully
  • Is not using exclamatory expressions such as “Oh-oh”, “No-no”, “Ta-da”, etc.

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 15-18 Months:

  •  Is not attempting to sing songs
  • Cannot use 10-15 words spontaneously
  • Is not using vocalization in conjunction with gestures
  • Does not use language to communicate needs
  • Is not repeating sounds or words or imitating environmental sounds
  • Is not jabbering tunefully during play
  • Continues to demonstrate eating problems (swallowing issues, choking, etc.)

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 18-24 Months:

  •  Is not using jargon with good inflection
  • Cannot label 2-4 pictures while looking at a book
  • Is not putting 2-4 words together to form short sentences or communicate needs
  • Does not understand nouns, verbs and modifiers and their uses
  • Is not using intelligible words to communicate needs
  • Cannot imitate 2-4 word phrases
  • Does not relay experiences using jargon, words and/or gestures

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 24-33 Months:

  • Cannot sing phrases of songs
  • Is not using three word sentences
  • Is not using a wide range of consonant and vowel sounds
  • Does not use past tense words (“He runned”)
  • Is not expressing frustration at not being understood
  • Does not use up to or more than 50 expressive words
  • Is not imitating phrases or experimenting with new words

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 33-36 Months:

  •  Is not responding to questions when asked things
  • Is not producing correct beginning sounds of words
  • Is having a hard time understanding prepositions
  • Is not speaking in complete sentences
  • Does not use plurals to refer to more than one (even if not correct)
  • Is not participating in storytelling
  • Does not have expressive vocabulary of 200-1000 words
  • Is not using expressive vocabulary to communicate all needs
  • Is not using sentences to communicate

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