Speech And Language Milestones That Signal Whether Or Not Your Child Requires A Speech Pathologist

Whilst there are many development milestones a parent will look for in their newborn child, speech is perhaps one they focus on more than others. If they have concerns about their child’s speech development, it is a speech therapists who they may turn to for advice or help if necessary.

One point we must make at the outset is that whilst there are general guidelines as to a child’s development, it is essential to know that no two children will develop at the same rate and in the same way. In other words, if a friend or relative’s child of the same age can recognize their name or has said their first word before yours does, that does not mean your child has a problem, but rather that the other child could be developing faster.

That being said, it does help for you to be aware of the recognized speech development milestones you should be looking for in your child. These speech developmental behaviors will indicate if your child’s speech and language development are on track or whether they may need some help from a speech pathologist if they are not achieving specific speech behaviors by a certain age.

0 To 1 Year

  • Will turn to or run toward a voice they recognise
  • Will recognise their name when it is spoken
  • Will listen to and respond to specific words
  • Will amuse themselves with the baby noises they make e.g. cooing, babbling
  • Will be seen making baby noises toward others
  • May try to make single or multiple syllable sounds
  • May exhibit behaviour that signifies that their sounds have meaning to them e.g. Cooing when happy, yelling when annoyed

1 Year To 2 Years

  • Will follow simple instructions or questions e.g. “Where’s Daddy?”, “Go to Mummy”
  • Will listen to songs, especially nursery rhymes
  • Will try to follow one-word instructions e.g. “hug”, “drink”
  • Identifies simple pictures from single words e.g. dog, bird
  • Will listen to stories that have pictures
  • Will speak their first words
  • Will mumble contentedly whilst playing
  • Will begin to repeat or echo single words spoken to them
  • Will start using words instead of gestures
  • Will be able to repeat one to two digits and letters

2 Years To 3 Years

  • Comes when their name is called
  • Can identify and distinguish different noises e.g. dog bark, car horn
  • Will recognise between 300 and 400 words
  • Can identify moving images such as cartoons
  • Can understand longer and more complex sentences e.g. “Fetch your shoes as we are going out.”
  • Will be able to follow numerous single-word instructions
  • Can recognise and identify multiple common objects and actions
  • Can construct two-word sentences
  • Should have a usable vocabulary of up to 300 words
  • Should be able to construct sentences of up to 4 syllables
  • Can talk about what they see in pictures and moving images
  • Starts using tenses (was/went), plurals (toys/cats), and pronouns (he/she)

What To Do If Your Child Is Not Reaching Speech And Language Milestones

Bear in mind these are merely guidelines so if your child has not yet developed one on the list by a specific age, do not assume they have a deficiency, especially if they have reached all the other milestones. However, if you have genuine concerns about your child’s speech and language development, then you should make an appointment with a speech pathologist to have your child evaluated.

It has been shown that the sooner a child is assessed the better the outcome,  especially if the speech pathologist determines that they would benefit from speech therapy and that the therapy begins quickly. Early intervention by a speech pathologist can not only speed up your child’s speech development but can also assist in other aspects of their development such as reading and writing as these are also linked to a child’s language development.