Age Hearing & Understanding Talking
7 months - 1 year
  • Enjoys interactive games like peek-a-boo
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items ("cup", "book", "car")
  • Begins to respond to requests ("Want more?" or "Come here")
  • Looks at you or looks with you at object
  • Anticipates what will happen next
  • Responds to name
  • Babbles long & short groups of syllables ("baba", "bibibi", "upup")
  • Gets and keeps attention using speech & non-speech sounds (not crying)
  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
  • Imitates a variety of speech sounds
  • Has one or two words around 12 months
1 - 2 years
  • Responds when you say "no" half the time
  • Points to several body parts when asked
  • Follows simple commands & understands simple questions
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Points to pictures in a book when named
  • Understands 150-300 words
  • Holds out toy to ask for help
  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions ("What’s that? Where kitty?")
  • Puts two words together
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at beginning of words
  • Uses 50-200 words
2 - 3 years
  • Understands contrasting concepts (big/little, up/down, in/on)
  • Follows two-step requests ("Get your shoe and put it on.")
  • Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time
  • Understands 500-600 words
  • Prefers using words to gesture
  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things
  • Uses m, b, p, w, h, and n sounds
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them
  • Asks why?
  • Uses no and not
  • Uses 200-1,000 words
3 - 4 years
  • Hears you when you call from another room
  • Understands words for some colors
  • Understands words for some shapes, like circle and square
  • Understands words for family (brother, sister, aunt, etc.)
  • Understands describing words, such as empty, a lot, dirty, heavy, negatives (not)
  • Understands 1,500-1,600 words
  • Uses f, k, g, t, and d sounds
  • Talks about activities
  • Uses about 4 sentences at a time
  • Speech is understood by everyone
  • Answers simple who/what/where questions
  • Asks when and how
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they)
  • Uses grammatical morphemes such as the verb tense -ing, prepositions in/on, possessive ‘s, and some plural words
  • Uses 500-1,500 words
4 -5 years
  • Understands sequencing (first, next, last)
  • Understands words for time (yesterday, today, tomorrow)
  • Follows longer directions ("Eat your food, clean up your dishes, then put on your pajamas.")
  • Follows classroom directions
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and school
  • Understands 2,000-3,000 words
  • Says all speech sounds in words. May make some mistakes on sounds that are more difficult to say, such as: l, s, r, v, z ch, sh, th.
  • Responds to "What did you say?"
  • Names letters and numbers
  • Uses sentences that have more than one action word, such as: jump, play, get. May make some mistakes.
  • Tells a short story
  • Can hold a conversation
  • Appropriately changes speech depending on context and communicative partner (i.e. small child vs. adult)
  • Uses 1,000-2,000 words
6 years
  • Understands 20,000-24,000 words
  • Uses 2,600-4,500 words
12 years
  • Understands 50,000 words

Red Flags for Speech & Language Development