Speech and Language Delay

Developmental Milestones

Learning what typical speech and language milestones look like can be helpful in evaluating your child’s growth. Although it is difficult to truly tell whether your child has a developmental problem without professional attention, these guidelines may be able to provide some clues:

By 12 Months:


  • Early in their development, babies will babble, both randomly and rhythmically, and coo in response to you.
  • As they get to approximately the 9 month stage, they will combine sounds together and babble as if copying real speech (using different expressions and tones of speech).
  • As they get closer to 12 months, they may imitate simple words and sounds. They should be responsive to and recognize sounds, simple instructions, and the names of familiar objects (bottle, blankie, etc.).

12 – 18 Months:


  • Children will be able to produce a wider range of sounds when they babble. They may be able to say 5-20 words, typically nouns.

18-24 Months:


  • Most children are able to use about 50 words by the time they are 24 months. Additionally, they should be able to combine words to form simple sentences.
  • Many children also tend to use simple gestures such as waving goodbye.
  • They should be able to identify common objects.
  • Children should recognize sounds of familiar animals
  • They should also be able to recognize certain body parts such as ears or eyes.

2-3 Years:


  • At this point, your child’s vocabulary should increase significantly. This will allow for sentences of 3-4 words and an increase in overall comprehension.
  • Children should understand some descriptive language, such as big vs. little, and use plural forms of some words.
  • Your child should also be able to identify some colors at this age.

3-4 Years:


  • Their vocabulary should include their last name and street name.
  • Your child may also know some short nursery rhymes

4-5 Years:


  • Children will now know more colors and shapes.
  • They will be able to use the past tense and will often ask “why” and “who” questions.

Next Steps

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