Speech-Language Milestones for Infants and Toddlers

SLP for Infants and Toddlers
Children start understanding language as soon as they are born; and as they grow, they will eventually learn to communicate on their own. Most children learn language by listening and practicing what they hear. That’s why it’s important for parents to start talking to their children from birth.

“You can talk to your child when you’re changing their diaper for example,” said Patricia Mayro, MA, CCC-SLP, clinical educator at the Speech-Language Institute (SLI). “It gives them chunks of language that their brain is processing even though they can’t understand the words. It’s the idea of engaging with your child.” While every child matures differently, according to experts, there are certain stages all children should reach as their speech and language skills develop. Here are some examples of developmental milestones parents should look for depending on their child’s age.

From birth to three months:
• Make "cooing" sounds
• Seem to recognize your voice
• Cry differently for different needs

From three to six months:
• Make gurgling sounds when playing with you or left alone
• Babble and make a variety of sounds
• Respond to changes in the tone of your voice

From six to 12 months:
• Try imitating speech sounds
• Say a few words, such as "dada," "mama" and "uh-oh"
• Recognize words for common items

From 12 to 18 months:
• Recognize names of familiar people and objects
• Follow simple directions accompanied by gestures
• Say as many as eight to 10 words

From 12 to 24 months:
• Use simple phrases, such as "more milk"
• Follow simple commands and understand simple questions
• Speak at least 50 words

If your child is between the ages of 18 and 30 months old and isn’t showing any signs of the milestones mentioned above, there could be an underlying problem.  Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) agree early intervention is a key component of future progress.

“Parents know their children,” Mayro said. “If there is something concerning to you, trust your gut and don’t push it off.”

SLPs can test your child’s speech-language skills. After an assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be put into place. SLPs can also work with parents, teaching them at-home activities to help their children communicate better.

If you have concerns about your child’s speech-language development, schedule an appointment with an expert at SLI today by calling 215.780.3150.