Below are some general guidelines for developmental expectations in communication. If your child is delayed, a speech and language evaluation may be indicated.

At 9 months, does your child:

  • Attend to a speaker and pictures.
  • Recognize the names of family members.
  • Produce several different syllables.
  • Vocalize to get attention.

At 12 months, does your child:

  • Understand simple questions.
  • Participate in speech routine games (e.g., peekaboo, pat-a-cake).
  • Use 1-2 words.

At 18 months, does your child:

  • Have at least ten words.
  • Use simple gestures (waves, claps, points).
  • Make sustained eye contact and engage your attention.
  • Persist in communication attempts to get you to do something.
  • Understand a variety of simple words/commands without a gesture.

At 24 months, does your child:

  • Use over 50 words to communicate.
  • Use several consonant sounds, including: p, b, m, t, d, n, h.
  • Use several two word combinations (daddy car; more cookie).
  • Use mostly words to communicate.
  • Follow a variety of directions.

At 36 months, does your child:

  • Engage in conversation.
  • Use language in imaginative ways.
  • Ask questions.
  • Use more consonant sounds: k, g, f, t, d, n, m, b, p, h.
  • Respond appropriately to yes/no and wh- questions.
  • Follows 2-sep directions.
  • Use early-developing grammatical markers (plural “s”, “-ing”, etc.)

At 48 months, does your child:

  • Carry on conversations with adult-like grammar.
  • Use pronouns: I, me, s/he, you appropriately.
  • Ask and answer questions (e.g., who?, how?, how many? why?)
  • Engage in complex pretend verbal play.
  • Speech is understood by non-family members most of the time.
  • Use more consonant sounds: p, d, m, w, h, n, t, b, k, g, f, v, y.

At 60 months, does your child:

  • Participate in long, detailed conversations.
  • Talk about past, future, and imaginative events.
  • Retell stories or events.
  • Follows three-step directions.
  • Correctly produce speech sounds: p, d, m, w, h, n, t, b, k, g, f, v, y, s, z, j, th, sh, ch, l.