Speech development milestones

The age at which children learn to talk can vary widely. Some children are simply just late developers. There are lots of ways to encourage speech development – reading to your toddler being the most important and beneficial also give your toddler lots of opportunities to communicate and be patient.

The below speech development milestones are a guideline, it’s important to remember every child is different and if you are worried speak to your GP or local PHN.

3 months
  • Be vocal – have baby conversations with you
6 months
  • Babble using vowel sounds, eg. “goo”, “ga”
  • Imitate sounds
  • Laugh out loud
9 months
  • Smile and laugh at you
  • Turn to sounds
  • Reaching for objects
  • Use his voice to get attention
If following the normal speech developmental stages of infants and toddlers, your toddler should:
12 months
  • Respond to his own name
  • Use sounds and even a few understandable words
  • Be able to play peek-a-boo and other games
  • Be able to use gestures like pointing
  • Be able to understand simple directions
  • Be able to let you know what he wants and what he doesn’t want!
  • Be showing you things that interest him
15 months
  • Be using lots of gestures and sounds
  • Be using some words to communicate
  • Be able to understand familiar words and phrases, like “where’s daddy?” or “get your shoes”
  • Be able to play with a variety of toys, like blocks, dolls, cars, teddy bears etc
18 months
  • Use at least 10 words
  • Be able to make at least five different consonant sounds – for example: ba,ca,da,ga,la,ma,na,sha,ta,wa,ya
  • Be able to identify body parts when asked- eg. “show me your nose”
  • Imitate words
  • Use symbolic play – so pretend to feed a doll
21 months
  • Use at least 25 different words
  • Be learning new words every week
  • Be able to identify several objects when named – eg. “where is the bike?”
24 months
  • Use at least 50 words
  • Be putting 2 words together – eg. “daddy home”, “doggie gone”
  • Be able to recognise pictures in books
  • Be able to listen to simple stories
maternity & infant
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