Speech and Language Development

Children develop speech and language skills in a predictable fashion...This chart shows typical ages for development of speech and language, although normal children vary in their development. Children develop at different rates and will not follow this timetable exactly.


Birth-3 Months                           Cooing; mostly vowel sounds


4-9 Months                                 Babbling ("ma ma", "bababa")


10-12 Months                            Loud multi-syllabic jabbering

Imitates sounds and syllables

Follows simple commands

Recognizes own name and "no"

Gestures or vocalizes to communicate wants and needs

First words  12-18 Months 10-50 word vocabulary at 18 months


12-18 Months                           10-50 word vocabulary at 18 months

Uses "jargon"--multi-syllabic babbling or nonsense "words"

Points to named objects or pictures

Answers, "What's this?"

Asks for "more"


18-24 Months                     200 word vocabulary at 24 months

Points to 5 body parts at 22 months

Produces animal sounds

2 word "sentences"

Understands 300 words


2- 2 1/2 Years                            Uses 3-4 word sentences

Understands 500 words

Answers "where" questions

Asks simple questions

Says full name

Begins to use verb + ing, irregular past tense and plurals


2 1/2 - 3 Years                            Speech is 90% intelligible

Can carry on conversations

Can follow 2 step commands

Can recite a few rhymes


3-4 Years                                   p,b,m,w,h, are used correctly in speech

Asks "what" and "who" questions

Counts 3 objects

Uses "is," "are," "am", "and," "not," pronouns, and verb contractions in speech

Uses 4-5 word sentences


4-5 Years                                   t,d,k,g,n,ng, and y are mastered

Most consonant sounds are used correctly in speech, although some errors are still common.

Counts 10 objects

Names 4 colors

Uses 5-8 word sentences

Still makes occasional grammatical errors

Can define words and tell stories


Sources: Developmental Sequences of Language Behavior: Overview (Nicolosi and Colllins)

Speech and Language Development Chart (Word Making Producations 1980