Development of Language Skills

Typical development of speech and language skills (0-3 years old)

Newborn to 3 months

• Startles to loud sounds

• Quiets or smiles when spoken to

• Seems to recognize your voice

• Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound

• Makes pleasure sounds (cooing)

• Cries differently for different needs

• Smiles when he sees you

4 to 6 months

• Moves eyes in direction of sound

• Responds to changes in your voice

• Notices toys that make sounds

• Pays attention to music

• Babbling sounds (more speech-like); many different sounds including “p, b, m”

• Vocalizes excitement and displeasure

• Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you

7 months to 12 months

• Enjoys games and peek-a-boo

• Turns and looks in direction of sounds

• Listens when spoken to

• Recognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, “juice”

• Begins to respond to requests (“Come here,” “Want more?”)

• Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata upup bibibi”

• Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention

• Imitates different speech sounds

• Has 1 or 2 words (bye bye, dada, mama) although they may not be clear

• Uses communicative gestures such as pointing and pulling

12 months to 15 months

• Maintains attention to pictures

• Understands simple directions especially with vocal or physical cues

• Uses one or more words with meaning

15 months to 18 months

• Says more words each month; vocabulary of 5-20 words

• Vocabulary composed mainly of nouns

• Much jargon-like speech

• Able to follow simple commands without cues (“Get your bear.”)

18 months to 21 months

• Points to a few body parts when named

• Follows simple commands and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,”

“Where’s your shoe?”)

• Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes

• Points to pictures in a book when named

• Uses many different consonant sounds at beginning of words

• Expressive vocabulary of 25-50 words

• Uses some 1-2 word questions (“What’s that?” “Daddy?” “Bye bye?”)

• Puts 2 words together (“more cookie”, “no juice”, “Mommy book”)

• Language explosion around 18-24 months; vocabulary of 150-300 words by 24 months

24 months to 36 months

• Understands differences in meanings of words (in/out, go/stop, up/down)

• Follows two requests (“Get the book and put it on the table”)

• Has a word for almost everything

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

• Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time

• Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them

36 months

• Hears you when you call from another room

• Answers simple “who?,” “what?,” “where?,” “why?” questions

• Talks about activities at school or friend’s home

• People outside family usually understand child’s speech

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

Reflection Task

Think about a student in your class. How do they communicate with you ?

Communications and Play Part II Coming Soon.

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