Speech and Language Development

Speech and Language Development

Speech and Language Development


“When should my child say his/her first words?” “Is this typical for his/her age?” These are common questions Speech-Language Pathologists receive from parents of young children. May is Speech and Hearing month and a great opportunity to ensure your child is meeting his/her speech and language goals.


The following is a list of some communication skills by age. A referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist is recommended if any of the milestones are not being met.


Early intervention is critical for children with communication problems. 


At 6 months, does your child:

  • Turn his/her eyes or head toward sound?
  • Babble and make different sounds (e.g. “aha’, “baba”, raspberries, squeals, growls)?
  • Make sounds back when you talk?
  • Enjoy games like peek-a-boo?


At 18 months, does your child:

  • Use at least 10 words?
  • Respond to routine questions such as “where is the dog”?
  • Follow simple one-step instructions such as, “give me the ball”?


At 2 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 50 words? Combine words in two-word phrases?
  • Point to the correct picture when asked?
  • Follow two-step instructions such as, “go upstairs and bring me your doll”?


At 3 years of age, does your child:

  • Use at least 500 words? Combine words into three-word phrases?
  • Understand concepts such as big/little, in/on/under?
  • Ask why questions?
  • Are people outside of the family able to understand your child?


At 4 years of age, does your child:

  • Use 1000-1500 words? Combine words into 4-6 word sentences?
  • Follow three or more step instructions such as, “First get some paper, then draw a picture, and last give it to mom”?
  • Ask a lot of questions?


A referral is also recommended for any of the following:

  • Voice is continuously hoarse.
  • Sounds and/or words are repeated often.
  • Your child acts frustrated when trying to talk.
  • Play or social skills seem inappropriate.
  • Literacy skills are behind grade/age expectations.
  • Limited interest in toys and/or plays with them in an unusual way.
  • Has lost words he/she used to say.
  • Most importantly, YOU are concerned with your child’s speech and/or language development.


Early intervention is critical for children with communication problems.

If you are concerned with your child’s speech and language development, a Speech-Language Pathologist can assess your child to determine if his/her speech and language skills are age appropriate, provide intervention, parent strategies and resources.




Erin Avramidis, M.Cl.Sc. SLP, Reg. CASLPO

About Erin Avramidis, M.Cl.Sc. SLP, Reg. CASLPO

Erin is a Registered Speech Therapist and Clinical Director of Speech Kids Canada, an In-Home Speech therapy company.

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3 thoughts on “Speech and Language Development

  1. Karen Yorio

    My son was diagnosed as severely, profoundly deaf at the age of a year old. That was 1988, and the audiologist told me he would have little to no speech. In 2011 he graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree. He has a great job and speaks very well. Most people think he’s a foreigner. A lot happened over the 15 years between the diagnosis and his college graduation. If you’re interested, I can provide a blog on your website.

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