Understanding Talking Feeding/Eating Socializing Activities to promote speech and language development
By 3 Months Seems to recognize parents voice and quiet when crying. Startles to loud sounds. Smiles when spoken to.

Produces different cries for varied needs.

Coos and gurgles.

Long sequences of uninterrupted sucking, sucking from breast or bottle. Seeks to make eye contact with an adult Responds to adult interaction Imitates facial expressions Vocalizes in response to other’s vocalization

Feeding, bathing and dressing are good times to share facial expressions and connect using eye contact. Sing and talk to your baby throughout the day.

Talk with your baby about what is happening throughout his/her day, foods he/she is eating and places they visit.

Infants will enjoy spending time on your lap while you look through picture or first books. These early experiences may lend themselves to an early, inquisitive reader!

Sing songs; incorporate songs with finger play and movement (e.g. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus).

Name objects and actions in colorful books and ask your baby to point to the objects.

Play games where your baby can imitate your gestures, sounds or words.

Imitate your baby’s gestures, sounds, and words.

Use short, simple language.

Talk to your baby during all of the activities you do together, telling him/her what you are doing, where you are going and describing the world around you.

Respond to your baby’s speech as if everything he or she says is meaningful.

By 6 Months

Looks for source of new sounds.

Attends to music.

Discriminates between angry and friendly voices.



Attempts to interact with an adult.

Tolerates introduction of drinking from a cup without a lid.

By 6 months, cereals and purees may be introduced.

By 12 Months

Attends to new words.

Understands simple questions.

Begins to respond to familiar requests.

May have one or two words.

Imitates some speech sounds.

Uses speech to gain attention and keep attention.

Easily eats chopped table foods.

Less spillage when drinking from an open cup.

Uses gestures and or vocalizations to protest Waves “hi” and “bye” Vocalizes to gain attention or call others Extends arm to show an object
12-17 Months

Understands his/her name.

Consistently responds to being told “no.”

Plays Pat-a-cake or “So Big!”

Imitates familiar words.

Uses common words like “Mama” and “Dada” and other nouns.

Transitions from formula or breast milk to cow’s milk.

Develops a more mature chewing pattern to eat a diet similar to an adult’s.

Initiates turn taking routines Shakes head “no” Uses words to protest Uses words in pretend play Takes turns in conversation Increase in pretend play Talks to self in own play
By 18 Months Follows simple directions like “give” and “get. Uses 10 to 20 words.

Movements seen during cup drinking and chewing are smoother and more refined.

Mealtimes are neater.

19 - 24 Months

Recognizes pictures of familiar objects and people.

Understands 50 words.

Identifies six body parts or clothing items.

Talks more than using gestures to communicate.

Imitates words overheard in conversation.

2 year olds

Understands simple questions and commands.

Listens to stories and points to pictures when asked.

Understands simple time concepts such as “last night” and “tomorrow."

Knows the words big and

Names familiar objects. Uses simple phrases and sentences.

Ask beginning questions.

Vocabulary is around 200 words (450 words by age 2 ½).

No longer produces jargon.

Begins to control own behavior verbally Makes conversational repair when not being understood Briefly joins other’s play Carries on conversation with self and dolls Requests permission for items or activities

Discuss daily events before, during, and after they occur. Show your child pictures that show action to encourage the use of verbs. Give labels to your child’s expressed emotions, i.e. “You’re feeling sad that the paper tore.” Tell stories, freeing your child from looking at pictures and bringing him or her closer to the power of words.

Introduce new vocabulary and concepts. Use open-ended questions requiring more than one answer, i.e. “Tell me what your bedroom looks like.” Provided language experiences rich in rhyme, repetition, fantasy, humor, and exaggeration.

For dysfluency: Be patient, don’t interrupt, slow down your own speech, be matter-of-fact, don’t pressure your child to speak to strangers.

Help your child classify objects and things, such as talking about what kinds of things you can ride in. Ask your child to help you plan activities such as what you will bring on a trip.

Give your child more responsibility. Read longer stories with your child. Encourage your child’s made-up stories by listening to them and drawing pictures about them.

Continue to show pleasure in your child’s development in speech, language, and thought. Ask your child to tell you about his or her experiences at school, a friend’s house, or the park. Encourage your child to use language to express feelings, ideas, dreams, wishes, and fears. Allow your child to create new, free designs with crayons, markers, or pencils.

3 year olds

Identify the usage of things in pictures i.e. “Show me the one you wear.”

Understands on and in.

Matches primary colors, names one color.

Follows directions with prepositional phrases, i.e. “Put the block under the chair.”

Vocabulary of 500-1000 words. Speech is intelligible.

Can carry on a conversation.

Forms negative statements.

May show some dysfluency (hesitates or repeats whole words or phrases).

Plays turns and plays cooperatively Relates personal experiences verbally Shows frustration when not understood Expresses ideas and feelings
4 year olds

Follows 2 step commands and commands where the object is not present.

Identifies crosses, triangles, circles, and squares.

Copies a line and a circle.

Speaks in complete sentences. Uses past tense correctly.

Can speak of imaginary conditions such as “Suppose that…” or “I hope…”.

Asks many questions including “who” and “why.”

Uses language to negotiate Uses language to invite others to play or resolve dispute with peers Changes topics appropriately
5 year olds

Follows 3 step commands.

Knows words for spatial relations such as on top, behind, far, near, over, under.

Understands the words same and different.

Knows common opposites (i.e. hard/soft).

Child corrects his own errors in learning to pronounce new words.

Uses all parts of speech and verb tenses correctly.

Tells a story with a simple plot (problem, action to solve problem, outcome).

Uses all types of sentences, some of which can be complex.

6-7 years Asks questions for information Recognizes that some listeners may not know background information Chooses own friends Can play cooperatively with larger peer groups