Speech & Language

Is My Child on Time?

SpeechPath Outpatient Clinic specializes in speech, language, and occupational therapies for the pediatric population. Our mission is to “create a path of hope” while providing exceptional service for therapeutic needs.  The following checklist helps you, the parent, determine if your child’s speech and language skills are developing on schedule.


The most intensive period of speech and language development for humans is during the first three years of life.  There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are “critical periods” for speech and language development in infants and young children.  This means that the developing brain is best able to absorb a language during this period.  The ability to learn a language will be more difficult, and perhaps less efficient or effective, if these critical periods are allowed to pass without early exposure. 


Children vary in their development of speech and language. There is, however, a natural progression or “timetable” for mastery of these skills.  The milestones are identifiable skills that can serve as a guide to normal development.  There is a general age and time when most children pass through these periods. 


Please review this checklist and talk to your child’s doctor about any concerns/questions you may have.  Also, feel free to contact SpeechPath Outpatient Clinic for any further information.  We look forward to working with you.

(Y/N) Birth to 5 months                                         

 □   □   Reacts to loud sounds.


 □   □   Turns head toward a sound source.


 □   □   Watches your face when you speak.


 □   □   Vocalizes pleasure/displeasure sounds

 (Laughs, giggles, cries, fusses, etc).


(Y/N) 6 – 11 months


 □   □   Understands ‘no-no’.


 □   □   Babbles (says ba-ba-ba or ma-ma-ma).


 □   □   Tries to communicate by actions/gestures.


 □   □   Tries to repeat your sounds.


(Y/N) 12 – 17 months


 □   □   Attends to a book or toy for about 2 minutes.


 □   □   Follows simple directions accompanied by gestures.


 □   □   Answers simple questions nonverbally.


 □   □   Points to objects, pictures, and family members.


 □   □   Says 2 to 3 words to label a person or object


 □   □   Tries to imitate simple words.

(Y/N) 18 – 23 months


 □   □   Follows simple commands without gestures.


 □   □   Points to simple body parts such as ‘nose’.


 □   □   Understands simple verbs such as ‘eat’, ‘sleep’.


 □   □   Correctly pronounces most vowels and n, m, p, h, especially in the beginning of syllables and short words.  Also begins to use other speech sounds.


 □   □   Says 25 to 50 words.


 □   □   Asks for common foods by name.


 □   □   Begins to use pronouns such as ‘mine’.


 □   □   Makes animal sounds such as ‘moo’.


 □   □   Starting to combine words such as ‘more milk’.


(Y/N)  2 – 3 years


 □   □   Understands some basic concepts such as ‘in’, ‘on’.


 □   □   Understands pronouns such as ‘you’, ‘me’, ‘her’.


 □   □   Understands descriptive such as ‘big’, ‘happy’.


 □   □   Says/uses around 200 words at 24 months.

(Y/N)  2 – 3 years (cont’d)


 □   □   Speech is becoming more accurate but may still leave off ending sounds.  Strangers may not be able to understand much of what is said.


 □   □   Answers simple questions.


 □   □   Begins to use more pronouns such as ‘you’, ‘I’.


 □   □   Speaks in 2 to 3 words phrases.


 □   □   Uses questions inflection to ask for something (‘my ball?’).


 □   □   Begins to use plurals such as ‘shoes’ or ‘socks’ and regular past tense verbs such as ‘jumped’.


(Y/N) 3 – 4 years


 □   □   Groups objects such as foods, clothes, etc.


 □   □   Identifies colors.


 □   □   Uses most speech sounds but may distort some of the more difficult sounds such as l, r, s, sh, ch, y, v, z, th.  These sounds may not be fully mastered until age 7 or 8.


 □   □   Uses consonants in the beginning, middle, and ends of words.  Some of the more difficult consonants may be distorted, but attempts to say them.  Strangers are able to understand much of what is said.


 □   □   Able to describe the use of objects such as ‘fork,’ ‘car,’ etc.


 □   □   Has fun with language.  Enjoys poems and recognizes language absurdities such as, ‘Is that an elephant on your head?’


 □   □   Expresses ideas and feelings rather than just talking about the world around him or her.


 □   □   Uses verbs that end in ‘ing,’ such as ‘walking,’, ‘talking.’


 □   □   Answers simple questions such as ‘What do you do when you are hungry?’


 □   □   Repeats sentences.

*Adapted from April 2000 NIH Publications No. 00-4871

National Institutes of Health