Communication Milestones

Communication Milestones

What are voice, speech, and language?

Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

Voice is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our larynx, causing them to vibrate.

Speech is talking, which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making other gestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.

Your baby’s hearing and communicative development checklist

Birth to 3 Months

Reacts to loud sounds

YES NO

Calms down or smiles when spoken to

YES NO

Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying

YES NO

When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound

YES NO

Coos and makes pleasure sounds

YES NO

Has a special way of crying for different needs

YES NO

Smiles when he or she sees you

YES NO

4 to 6 Months

Follows sounds with his or her eyes

YES NO

Responds to changes in the tone of your voice

YES NO

Notices toys that make sounds

YES NO

Pays attention to music

YES NO

Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m

YES NO

Laughs

YES NO

Babbles when excited or unhappy

YES NO

Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing
with you

YES NO

7 Months to 1 Year

Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

YES NO

Turns and looks in the direction of sounds

YES NO

Listens when spoken to

YES NO

Understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”

YES NO

Responds to requests (“Come here”)

YES NO

Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (“tata, upup, bibibi”)

YES NO

Babbles to get and keep attention

YES NO

Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms

YES NO

Imitates different speech sounds

YES NO

Has one or two words (“Hi,” “dog,” “Dada,” or “Mama”) by first birthday

YES NO

 

1 to 2 Years

Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked

YES NO

Follows simple commands (“Roll the ball”) and understands simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”)

YES NO

Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes

YES NO

Points to pictures, when named, in books

YES NO

Acquires new words on a regular basis

YES NO

Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”)

YES NO

Puts two words together (“More cookie”)

YES NO

Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words

YES NO

2 to 3 Years

Has a word for almost everything

YES NO

Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things

YES NO

Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds

YES NO

Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends

YES NO

Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them

YES NO

3 to 4 Years

Hears you when you call from another room

YES NO

Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other
family members

YES NO

Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions

YES NO

Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes

YES NO

Uses sentences with four or more words

YES NO

Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words

YES NO

4 to 5 Years

Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it

YES NO

Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school

YES NO

Uses sentences that give many details

YES NO

Tells stories that stay on topic

YES NO

Communicates easily with other children and adults

YES NO

Says most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th)

YES NO

Uses rhyming words

YES NO

Names some letters and numbers

YES NO

Uses adult grammar

YES NO

This checklist is based upon How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?, courtesy of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.

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