Information from American Speech and Hearing Association

Speech and Language Milestones


Birth-3 months: hearing and understanding – Startles to loud sounds. Quiets or smiles when spoken to. Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying. Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound.

Birth-3 months: talking – Makes pleasure sounds (cooing, gooing). Cries differently for different needs. Smiles when sees you.

4-6 months: hearing and understanding – Moves eyes in direction of sounds. Responds to changes in tone of your voice. Notices toys that make sounds. Pays attention to music.

4-6 months: talking – Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b and m. Vocalizes excitement and displeasure. Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you.

7 months-1 year: hearing and understanding – Enjoys games like peek-o-boo and pat-a-cake. 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?”).

7 months-1 year: talking – Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata upup bibibibi.” 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.

1-2 years: hearing and understanding – Points to a few body parts when asked. Follows simple commands and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,” “Kiss the baby,” “Where’s your shoe?”). Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes. Points to pictures in a book when named.

1-2 years: talking – Says more words every month. Uses some

1-2 word questions (“Where kitty?” “Go bye-bye?” “What’s that?”). Puts 2 words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”). Uses many different consonant sounds of the beginning of words.

2-3 years: hearing and understanding – Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up-down”). Follows two requests (“Get the book and put it on the table.”).

2-3 years: talking – Has a word for almost everything. Uses 2-3-word “sentences” 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.

3-4 years: hearing and understanding – Hears you when call from another room. Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members. Understands simple, “who?,” “what?,” “where?,” “why?” questions.

3-4 years: talking – Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes. People outside family usually understand child’s speech. Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words. Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.

4-5 years: hearing and understanding – Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it. Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.

4-5 years: talking – Voice sounds clear like other children’s. Uses sentences that give lots of details (e.g. “I like to read my books”). Tells stories that stick to topic. Communicates easily with other children and adults. Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th. Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.