Development Milestones

First 3 months Development

  • Becomes startled at loud noises
  • Is soothed by calm, gentle voices
  • Likes to cuddle and enjoys being held
  • Cries, gurgles, grunts, says "ah"
  • Has strong muscles in cheeks and tongue

Warning Signs

  • Shows no reaction to sound

4-6 months Development

  • Tries to "talk" to you
  • Enjoys interacting with you and smiles at you
  • Establishes eye contact with mother
  • Watches your face with interest when you talk
  • Coos and squeals for attention
  • Has a special cry when hungry
  • Laughs during play
  • Repeats some sounds often

Warning Signs

  • Are any of the above behaviors absent?

6-12 months Development

  • Babbles using a variety of sounds (i.e., baba, dada, nana)
  • Begins to use jargon (babbling that sounds like real talking)
  • Uses speech intentionally for the first time
  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving bye, pointing)
  • Tries to sing along with radio or TV
  • Laughs and may imitate cough
  • Protests
  • Understands some common words when used with gestures (i.e., "bye-bye", "up", "give me" and own name)
  • Responds to own name
  • Understands "no"
  • Recognizes words for common objects

Warning Signs

  • Are you concerned about your child's responsiveness or babbling?
  • Does your child have recurrent ear infections?

12-18 months Development

  • Uses 3-10 words, primarily nouns
  • Expresses wants by using gestures and vocalizations
  • Nods "yes" and shakes head for "no"
  • Understands simple questions/statements (i.e., "Where is your nose?", "Give me...")
  • Recognizes pictures of familiar persons
  • Enjoys rhythm and likes to "dance" to music
  • Plays by him/herself

Warning Signs

  • Does you child not talk at all?
  • Is your child sociable?

18-24 months Development

  • Says some 2 word sentences such as "more milk", "all gone", "me go"
  • Asks for a cookie or toy
  • Pronouns emerge (i.e., me, mine)
  • Asks questions (i.e., "go bye-bye?" "Where mommy?")
  • Uses 50-100+ words
  • Understands "where is mommy/daddy?"
  • Understands more words than can speak/say
  • Understands 300+ words
  • Enjoys listening to stories
  • Follows two-step commands (e.g., "Get the ball and put it on the table.")
  • Knows 5 body parts
  • Speech is understood 25-50% of the time

Warning Signs

  • Does your child use more gestures than words?
  • Are you concerned about your child's ability to talk and/or understand?

2-3 years Development

  • Combines words in 3-4 word sentences (e.g., "Me do it.")
  • Uses 200-300 words
  • Uses action verbs (e.g., "go")
  • Answers simple questions (i.e., What's your name?', "Which one is the big doll?")
  • Can put a toy "in", "on", "under" when asked
  • Answers simple questions about objects (e.g., "Which one do we eat with?")
  • Understand 500-900 words
  • Understands concepts such as one/all, on/off, big/little
  • Speech is understood 50-70% of the time
  • Uses consonants (p, b, m, n, h, w) correctly

Warning Signs

  • Does your child show frustration when trying to talk?
  • Do you have difficulty understanding your child's speech?
  • Does your child put 2 words together?

3-4 years Development

  • Tells first and last name
  • Tells a short story (e.g., two kids played blocks)
  • Gives directions such as "Fix this for me."
  • Asks many questions (i.e., "what", "where", "why")
  • Expresses feelings (i.e., happy, sad)
  • Consistently uses plurals, possessives, verbs
  • Understands questions about a picture story (e.g., "Where did the dog go?")
  • Understands 800-1500 words
  • Follows 3-step directions
  • Plays in groups
  • Speech sounds are 80% intelligible

Warning Signs

  • Is your child's speech difficult to understand?
  • Are your child's speech skills not at age level described?

4-5 years Development

  • Describes objects and events
  • Can show you "top", "bottom", and several colors
  • Uses 1,000- 2,000 words
  • Communicates easily with peers and adults
  • Uses 8-10 word sentences
  • Uses grammatically correct sentences
  • Understands 2,800 words
  • Answers questions regarding object functions (e.g., "What do you do with a spoon?")
  • Answers complex "wh" questions
  • Demonstrates complex role plays
  • Shows interest in group activity
  • Plays simple games

Warning Signs

  • Does your child use complete sentences?
  • Does your child stutter?
  • Does your child not seem to be able to follow directions?

5-6 years Development

  • Vocabulary of approximately 2,000-3,000 words
  • Uses almost all adult forms and structures, with occasional errors
  • Tells stories, asks questions, exchanges information
  • Tells imaginative tales and familiar stories
  • Can answer telephone and carry on logical conversations