4-6 months

  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Responds to no and changes in tone of voice
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Recognizes voices
  • Uses sounds p, b and m in babbling
  • Smiles and laughs when spoken to
  • Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
  • Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you

7-12 months

  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds
  • Responds to own name
  • Recognizes words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” “book”
  • Begins to respond to requests (e.g. “Give me”)
  • Uses a large variety of sounds in babbling
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1 – 3 meaningful words (hi, dog, dada, mama)

1-2 years

  • Asks and answers WH-questions (“Where kitty?” “What’s that?”)
  • Puts two words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”)
  • Is approximately 25 -50% intelligible to strangers

2-3 years

  • Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up- down”)
  • Follows 2-part commands (“Get the book and put it on the table”)
  • Understands 500 – 900+ words
  • Requests items by name
  • Uses 2 – 4 word phrases Maintains topic over several conversational turns
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds
  • Produces 50 – 250+ words Is approximately 50 – 75% intelligible

3-4 years

  • Understands function of objects
  • Understands opposites
  • Follows 2 and 3 part commands
  • Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, and “why?” questions
  • Uses language to express emotion
  • Relates recent events
  • Uses mostly nouns and verbs
  • Uses 4 – 5 word sentences
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words
  • Is approximately 80% intelligible

4-5 years

  • Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them
  • Uses sentences of 4 – 8 words with adult-like grammar
  • Tells stories that stay to topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Answers complex 2-part questions
  • Is intelligible with strangers although some sound errors may persist

5-6 years

  • Accurately relays a story or an event
  • Exchanges information and asks questions
  • Uses sentences with details
  • Follows instructions given to a group
  • Asks how questions
  • Begins to demonstrate sequencing abilities (days of the week)
  • Answers open-ended questions (“What did you have for lunch today?”)