development milestones


  • Repeats the same sounds
  • Frequently coos, gurgles, and makes pleasure sounds
  • Uses a different cry to express different needs
  • Smiles when spoken to
  • Recognizes voices
  • Localizes sound by turning head
  • Listens to speech
  • Uses the phonemes /b/, /p/, and /m/ in babbling
  • Reaches for objects with one hand but often misses
  • Blows bubbles on lips
  • Visually tracks people and objects
  • Understands 'No' and 'Hot'
  • Responds to simple requests
  • Understands and responds to own name
  • Listens to and imitates some sounds
  • Recognizes words for common items (cup, shoe, juice)
  • Babbles using long and short groups of sounds
  • Uses a song-like intonation when babbling
  • Imitates some adult speech sounds and intonation patterns
  • Uses speech rather than only crying to get attention
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Uses sound approximations
  • Begins to change babbling to jargon
  • Uses speech intentionally for the first time
  • Uses nouns most exclusively
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 1 to 3 words
  • Understands simple commands
  • Attempts to feed self with a spoon
  • Attempts to imitate gestures
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Holds own bottle
  • Plays ball with a partner
  • Enjoys games like 'peek-a-boo' and 'pat-a-cake'
  • Uses a primitive grasp for writing, bangs crayons rather than writes
  • Cooperates with dressing, puts foot out for shoe, and places arms through sleeves
  • Uses adult like intonation patterns
  • Uses echolalia (whole or partial repetition of another speaker) and jargon (strings of unintelligible sounds with adult-like intonations)
  • Uses jargon to fill in gaps in fluency
  • Omits some initial consonants and almost all final consonants
  • Produces mostly unintelligible speech
  • Follows simple commands
  • Receptively identifies 1 to 3 body parts
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 3 to 20 or more words
  • Combines gestures and vocalization
  • Makes requests for "more" of desired items (more juice, more bubbles)
  • Points to recognized objects
  • Imitates gestures
  • Removes some clothing items (socks, hat)
  • Uses words more frequently than jargon
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50 to 100 or more words
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 300 or more words
  • Starts to combine nouns and verbs
  • Begins to use pronouns
  • Maintains unstable voice control
  • Uses appropriate intonation for questions
  • Is approximately 50% intelligible to strangers by 2 years old
  • Answers 'what's that' questions
  • Enjoys listening to stories
  • Knows 5 body parts
  • Accurately names a few familiar objects
  • Uses pull toys
  • Strings beads
  • Enjoys playing with clay
  • Rotates head while walking
  • Reaches automatically with primary concern on manipulation of object
  • Seats self in child's chair
  • Speech is 50-75% intelligible
  • Understands 'one' and 'all'
  • Verbalizes toilet needs (before, during or after act)
  • Requests items by name
  • Points to pictures in a book when named
  • Identifies several body parts
  • Follows simple commands and answers simple questions
  • Enjoys listening to short stories, songs and rhymes
  • Asks 1-2 word questions
  • Use 3-4 word phrases
  • Uses some prepositions, articles, present progressive verbs (ex. walking), regular plurals, contractions, and irregular past tense forms (ex. threw)
  • Uses words that are general in context
  • Continues use of echolalia when difficulties in speech are encountered
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 or more words
  • Has an Expressive vocabulary of 50-250 or more words (rapid growth during this period)
  • Exhibits multiple grammatical errors
  • Understands most things said to him or her
  • Frequently exhibits repetitions-especially starters,'I', and first syllables.
  • Speaks with a loud voice
  • Increases range of pitch
  • Uses vowels correctly
  • Consistently uses initial consonants (some are misarticulated)
  • Frequently omits medial consonants
  • Frequently omits or substitutes final consonants
  • Uses approximately 27 phonemes
  • Uses auxiliary is including the contracted form
  • Uses some regular past tense verbs (ex. Kicked), possessive, pronouns and imperatives (i.e. commands)
  • Begins developing rhythm
  • Turns pages one by one or two to three at a time
  • Folds paper roughly in half on imitation
  • Scribbles
  • Drinks from a full glass with one hand
  • Chews food
  • Undresses self
  • Understands object functions
  • Understands differences in meanings (stop-go, in-on, big-little)
  • Follows 2- and 3- part commands
  • Asks and answers simple questions
  • Frequently asks questions and demands detail in response
  • Produces simple verbal analogies
  • Uses language to express emotion
  • Uses 4-5 words in a sentence
  • Repeats 6 to 13 syllable sentences accurately
  • Identifies objects by name
  • Manipulates adults and peers
  • May continue to use echolalia
  • Uses up to 6 words in a sentence
  • Uses nouns and verbs most frequently
  • Is conscious of past and future
  • Has a 1,200-2000 or more receptive vocabulary
  • Has a 800-1,500 or more word expressive vocabulary
  • Increases speech rate
  • Whispers
  • Masters 50% of consonants and blends
  • Speech is 80% intelligible
  • Sentence grammar improves, although some errors still persist
  • Appropriately use is, are, and am in sentences
  • Tells two events in chronological order
  • Engages in long conversations
  • Uses some contractions, irregular plurals (ex. Men), future tense verbs, and conjunctions
  • Consistently uses regular plurals, possessives and simple past tense verbs
  • Turns pages one at a time
  • Runs and plays active games with abandonment
  • Traces a square, copies a circle, and imitates horizontal strokes
  • Puts on own shoes, but not necessarily the correct foot
  • Uses a spoon without spilling
  • Understands concepts of numbers up to 3
  • Continues understanding of spatial concepts
  • Recognizes 1 to 3 colors
  • Has receptive vocabulary of 2,800 or more words
  • Counts to 10 by rote
  • Listens to short, simple stories
  • Answers questions about function
  • Uses grammatically correct sentences
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 900-2,000 or more words
  • Uses sentences of 4 to 8 words
  • Answers complex 2-part questions
  • Asks for word definitions
  • Speaks at a rate of 186 words per minute
  • Reduces total number of repetitions
  • Enjoys rhymes, rhythms and nonsense syllables
  • Produces consonants with 90% accuracy
  • Significantly reduces number of persistent sound omissions and substitutions
  • Frequently omits medial consonants
  • Speech is usually intelligible to strangers
  • Talks about experiences at school, at friends' homes, etc.
  • Accurately relays a long story
  • Pays attention to a story and answers simple questions about it
  • Uses some irregular plurals, possessive pronouns, future tense, reflexive pronouns, and comparative -er (ex. Faster) in sentences
  • Pushes, pulls and steers wheeled toys
  • Uses toilet independently
  • Skips to music
  • Releases objects with precision
  • Draws circles, diamonds and crosses
  • Enjoys cutting and pasting
  • Names 6 basic colors and 3 basic shapes
  • Follows instructions given to a group
  • Follows 3-part commands
  • Asks 'how' questions
  • Answers verbally to 'hi' and 'how are you?'
  • Uses past tense and future tense appropriately
  • Uses conjunctions
  • Has receptive vocabulary of approximately 13,000 words
  • Names opposites
  • Sequentially names days of the week
  • Counts to 30 by rote
  • Continues to drastically increase vocabulary
  • Reduces sentence length to 4-6 words
  • Reverses sounds occasionally
  • Exchanges information and asks questions
  • Uses sentences with details
  • Accurately relays a story
  • Sings entire songs and recites nursery rhymes
  • Communicates easily with adults and other children
  • Uses appropriate grammar in most cases
  • Prints a few capital letters
  • Builds complex structures with blocks
  • Buttons clothes, washes face and puts toys away
  • Reaches and grasps in one continuous movement
  • Catches a ball with hands
  • Makes precise marks with crayon, confining marks to a small area
  • Names some letters, numbers and currencies
  • Sequences numbers
  • Understands 'left' and 'right'
  • Uses increasingly more complex descriptions
  • Engages in conversations
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of approximately 20,000 words
  • Uses a sentence length of approximately 6 words
  • Understands most concepts of time
  • Recites the alphabet
  • Counts to 100 by rote
  • Uses most morphologic markers appropriately
  • Uses passive voice appropriately
  • Shows reduced interest in writing and drawing
  • Draws recognizable man, tree, and house
  • Uses adult like writing, but it is slow and labored
  • Draws pictures that are not proportional
  • Colors within lines
  • Indicates well established right or left handedness
  • Dresses self completely
  • Follows advanced rhythms

Information from: Shipley, K and McAfee, J. (1998)

Assessment in Speech Language Pathology: A Resource Manual 2nd edition.
San Diego: Singular publishing Group, Inc.

Website Links:
American Speech & Hearing Association