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Baby Speech & Language Development Stages Cheat Sheet by

development     stages     infant

Up to 3 months

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Startled by loud noises
• Turns towards a familiar sound
• Recognizes parent’s voice
• Often calmed by familiar friendly voice, e.g. parent’s
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Frequently cries especially when uncomf­ortable - Makes vocal sounds, e.g. cooing, gurgling
Social Skills
• Gazes at faces and copies facial movement, e.g. sticking out tongue!
• Makes eye contact for fairly long periods

3 - 6 months

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Watches face when someone talks
• Shows excitement at sound of approa­ching voices
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Makes vocal noises to get attention
• Makes sounds back when talked to
• Laughs during play
• Babbles to self
Social Skills
• Senses different emotions in parent’s voice and may respond differ­ently, e.g. smile, quieten, laugh
• Cries in different ways to express different needs

6 - 12 months

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Locates sources of voice with accuracy
• Focuses on different sounds, e.g. doorbell, clock
• Unders­tands frequently used words such as ’all gone’, ’no’
• Stops and looks when hears own name
• Unders­tands simple instru­ctions when supported by gestures and context
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Uses speech sounds (babbling) to commun­icate with adults; says sounds like ’ba-ba, no-no, go-go
• Stops babbling when hears familiar adult voice
• Uses gestures such as waving and pointing to help commun­icate
Social Skills
• Enjoys action rhymes and songs
• Tries to copy adult speech and lip movements
• Takes ‘ turns’ in conver­sation (using babble).

12 - 15 months

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Attends to music and singing
• Enjoys sound - making toys / objects
• Unders­tands single words in context, e.g. cup, milk, daddy
• Unders­tands more words than they can say
• Unders­tands simple instru­ctions, e.g. ‘kiss mummy’, ‘stop’
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Says around 10 single words, although these may not be clear
• Reaches or points to something they want whilst making speech sounds
Social Skills
• Likes being with familiar adults
• Likes watching adults for short periods of time.

15 - 18 months

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Listens and responds to simple inform­ation / instru­ctions e.g. ’Ben, put on shoes’, ’Mohammed, give to daddy’
• Unders­tands a wide range of single words and some two-word phrases, e.g. ‘give me’, ‘shoe on’
• Recognizes and points to object­s/p­ictures in books if asked
• Gives names familiar objects to adults, e.g. coat, apple,
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Still babbles but uses at least 20 single words correctly, although may not be clear
• Copies gestures and words from adults
• Constant babbling and single words used during play
• Uses intona­tion, pitch and changing volume when ‘talking’
Social Skills
• Simple pretend play, but plays alone
• Although becoming indepe­ndent likes to be near familiar adult

18 - 2 years

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Focuses on an activity of their own choice but finds it difficult to be directed by an adult
• Use of child’s name beginning to help them to attend to what an adult says, e.g. ‘Sarah, eat sandwi­ches’
• Unders­tanding of single words develops rapidly during this stage: anything between 200—500 words are known
• Unders­tands more simple instru­ctions, ’Get your bricks’
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Uses up to 50 words
• Begins to put two or three words together
• Frequently asks questions, e.g. the names of people / objects
• Uses speech sounds p,b,m,w
Social Skills
• ‘Pretend’ play developing with toys, e.g. feeding a doll
• Becomes frustrated when unable to make self understood
• Follows adult body language e.g. pointing, gesture

2 - 3 years

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Beginning to listen to talk with interest, but easily distract.
• Listens to talk addressed to him/her, but finds it difficult if prompts are not provided, e.g. use of name, stop and listen
• Developing unders­tanding of simple concepts including In / on / under , big / little
• Unders­tands phrases like ’put teddy in the box’
• Unders­tands simple ’who’ and ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions but not why.
• Unders­tands simple story when supported with pictures
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Uses 300 words including descri­ptive language
• Links four to five words together
• Uses pronouns (me, him, she) plurals & prepos­itions (in, on, under)
• Has problems with speech sounds: l / r / w / y , f / th, s / sh / ch / dz / j
Social Skills
• Holds a conver­sation but jumps from topic to topic
• Interested on other’s play and will join in
• Expresses emotions towards adults and peers using words, not just actions

3- 4 years

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Enjoys listening to stories
• Still finds it difficult to attend to more than one thing at a time, has to switch attention between speaker and task
• Unders­tands questions or instru­ctions with two parts, e.g. ‘get your jumper’ and ‘stand by the door’
• Unders­tands ‘why’ questions
• Aware of time in relation to past, present and future, e.g. Today is sunny and yesterday was rainy.
Speech Sounds & Talk
• Uses sentences of four to six words
• Uses future and past tense (ed)
• May continue to have problems with irregular words, ‘runned’ for ‘ran, ‘swimmed’ for ‘swam’**
• Able to recall and enjoys telling long stories /singing songs
• Has problems saying r, j, ch and sh
Social Skills
• Unders­tands turn-t­aking and sharing with adults / peers

4 - 5 years

List­ening & Attent­ion
• Attention is now more flexible -the child can understand spoken instru­ctions related to a task without stopping the activity to look at the speaker
• Able to follow simple story without pictures
• Unders­tands instru­ctions containing sequencing words; ‘first...a­ft­er….last’
• Understand adject­ives: soft, hard, smooth, etc
• Aware of more complex humour, laughs at jokes
Speech Sounds
• Uses well formed sentences e.g. ‘I played with Ben at lunch & Talk time’ but there may still be some gramma­tical errors
• Easily understood with only a few immatu­rities in sounds, e.g. ‘th’, ‘r’ & 3 consonant
• Frequently asks the meaning of unfamiliar words
Social Skills
• Chooses own friends and generally co-ope­rative with peers
• Able to plan constr­uction and make believe play activities

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