“When should my child say his/her first words?”  “Is this typical for his/her age?”  These are common questions Speech-Language Pathologists receive from parents of young children. 

The following is a list of some communication skills by age.  A referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist is recommended if any of the milestones are not being met.  

At 6 months, does your child:

  • Turn his/her eyes or head toward sound?
  • Babble and make different sounds (e.g. “aha’, “baba”, raspberries, squeals, growls)?
  • Make sounds back when you talk?
  • Enjoy games like peek-a-boo?

At 12 months, does your child:

  • Follow simple one-step directions (Stand up.)?
  • Consistently use three to five words?
  • Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)?
  • Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes?
  • Bring you toys to show you?
  • Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (badah mada  adeh)?

At 18 months, does your child:

  • Use at least 10 words?
  • Respond to routine questions such as “where is the dog”?
  • Follow simple one-step instructions such as, “give me the ball”?

At 2 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 50 words?  Combine words in two-word phrases?
  • Point to the correct picture when asked?
  • Follow two-step instructions such as, “go upstairs and bring me your doll”?

At 3 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 500 words?  Combine words into three-word phrases?
  • Understand concepts such as big/little, in/on/under?
  • Ask why questions?
  • Are people outside of the family able to understand your child?

At 4 years of age, does your child:

  • Use 1000-1500 words?  Combine words into 4-6 word sentences?
  • Follow three or more step instructions such as, “First get some paper, then draw a picture, and last give it to mom”?
  • Ask a lot of questions?

A referral is also recommended for any of the following:

  • Voice is continuously hoarse.
  • Sounds and/or words are repeated often.
  • Your child acts frustrated when trying to talk.
  • Play or social skills seem inappropriate.
  • Literacy skills are behind grade/age expectations.
  • Limited interest in toys and/or plays with them in an unusual way.
  • Has lost words he/she used to say.
  • Most importantly, YOU are concerned with your child’s speech and/or language development.

Early intervention is critical for children with communication problems.  If you are concerned with your child’s speech and language development, a Speech-Language Pathologist can assess your child to determine if his/her speech and language skills are age appropriate, provide intervention, parent strategies and resources.  Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns or to set up an initial assessment.  1 844 804 5437 | info@speechkids.ca |www.speechkids.ca