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Speech/Language and Feeding Developmental Milestones

Here are some skills that your child should have at different ages.  If you are concerned that your child is not acquiring these skills, please speak to a Speech Therapist.

At birth, your child:

Cries with short cries, the same rate as his breathing
Seems interested in looking at faces
Startles at loud or sudden sounds
Looks for sounds
Follows movement with his eyes
Turns her head toward something that touches the corner of her mouth or cheek
Latches on to breast or bottle
Breathes through his nose
Suckles with tongue moving forward and back
Eats in bursts of 2-3 sucks between pauses

At three to six months, your child:

Smiles and laughs
Shows that she recognizes caregivers
Has different cries for different needs
Makes vowel sounds and sounds in his throat
Starts making sounds with her lips
Makes sounds (other than crying) to tell when he's happy and when he is not
Coos back and forth with caregivers
Gets better and better at grabbing things and putting them in her mouth
Recognizes/shows excitement over breast/bottle
Sucks efficiently with 20 or more successive sucks
Rarely has to pause for breath when eating

At 6 months, your child:

Enjoys face-to-face play with eye contact
Has animated facial expressions
Makes lots of different sounds
Makes sounds with his lips
Laughs, gurgles, & coos with familiar people
Varies pitch, volume, and rate of sounds
Reacts to loud, angry, and friendly voices
Turns and looks toward new sounds
Babbles for attention
Puts fingers and toys in his mouth
Sucks rhythmically on breast or bottle
Eats pureed food from a spoon if it's offered

At 8 months, your child:

Responds to his or her name
Looks for family members when they are named
Produces four or more different sounds
Uses syllables, i.e. ba, da, ka
Repeats the same syllables, i.e. bababababa
Listens to his own sounds and sounds of others
Tries to imitate sounds
Puts fingers and toys in his mouth
Moves her tongue up and down while eating
Moves food from side to side in his mouth
Bites soft foods
May "scrape" hard foods with teeth

At 10 months, your child:

May say "mama" and "dada"
Shouts to attract attention
Uses jargon (babbling that sounds like real speech with different sounds and intonation)
Turns and looks at familiar things when you name them
Tries hard to imitate adults
Puts fingers and toys in her mouth
Bites and chews small pieces of table foods

At 12 months, your child:

Says 2-3 words besides "mama" and "dada"
Imitates familiar words
Understands simple instructions
Understands "no" (but may not obey!)
Waves bye-bye and plays pat-a-cake
Shows a great amount of affection
Moves his tongue in all directions:  up/down, in/out, side to side
Eats solid foods well/food rarely falls out
May have difficulty with some hard foods
Drinks from a cup/may spill some
Decreases drooling

At 18 months, your child:

Uses 20-50 words
Recognizes pictures of familiar people and objects
Uses "ing verbs
Combines two words such as "all gone" and "Daddy bye-bye."
Uses words to make wants known, such as "more," "up": 
Points and gestures to call attention to something or ask for something
Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
Brings a familiar object from another room when asked
Follows simple commands
Can be understood at least 25% of the time
Sometimes can chew with lips closed
Closes both lips around a spoon to clean it off independently (parent does not need to "wipe spoon")
Rarely drools 

At 2 years, your child:

Uses 150 - 300 words
Uses two- to three-word phrases
Has conversations of two or more turns
Uses negatives like "not go" or "no want"
Forms plurals by adding 's:  book/books
Stays with one activity (besides TV) for 6-7 minutes
Pretends/plays things she has done or seen frequently (feeding a doll, talking on a phone)
Eats table foods well
Drinks independently from a cup
Cleans his lips with his tongue
Drools only when working on something difficult

At 2 and a half years, your child:

Has a vocabulary of about 450 words
Has the fastest growth in vocabulary
Uses 4 word sentences frequently
Uses "best" sentences of about 7 words
Uses past tense and plurals
Combines nouns and verbs
Tells first name and age
Has speech that is 60-70% understandable

At 3 years, your child:

Has a vocabulary of about 1000 words
Uses "best" sentences of around 9 words
Asks "what," "where," "why," and "how" (but may get these words mixed up)
Understands prepositions (under, on, in)
Frequently practices talking/repeats things a lot
Sometimes stutters
Sings songs
Tells a 3-step story
Stays with one activity (besides TV) for 9 minutes
Pretends things that he has never really done (i.e. plays with action figures or that he's a TV character)
Can be understood 90% of the time even though sounds may not be perfect.

At 4 years, your child:

Tells about the past
Tells stories with a beginning, middle, and end
Uses "best" sentences of around 11 words
Knows colors and shapes
Understands "today," "yesterday," and "tomorrow"
Discusses emotions
Gives explanations or justifications for requests
Talks about imaginary events
Uses speech sounds correctly except possibly s,z,sh,ch,th,j,l,r
May sometimes stutter
Names rhyming words
Stays with one activity (besides TV) for 12 or more minutes

At 5 years, your child:

Has a vocabulary of over 2000 words
Uses joined and complex sentences (for example, uses and, but, before, & after correctly in sentences)
Uses 80% correct grammar
Knows common opposites
Uses present, past, and future tense
Tells a story with a plot
Stays with one activity (other than TV) for 15 minutes or more
Has highly imaginative pretend play
Identifies the beginning sound of a word

At 6 years, your child:

Has adult-like speech
Has conversations of up to 12 turns
Responds to indirect directions/hints
Tells jokes, puns, or riddles
Pronounces sounds correctly except maybe s,z,r,th
Is learning to read and write