Language development of a typically developing child

Use the following criteria to access the approximate skill level of the child.

Approximate age Expressive Language Activities Receptive Language Activities
2 to 4 months Verbal play through cooing, gooing, and laughing. Vowel sounds heard such as ooohh, eee, and ahhh. Turns head toward sounds and can begin to discriminate one sound from another.
4 to 8 months Babbling begins. Some consonant sounds can be hears. Anticipates an event, such as peek-a-boo and will visually follow a toy across the floor. Is capable of visually attending to an object with caregiver (i.e., joint attention).
8 to 12 months Syllable variation (i.e., badugatadudah). First word approximations (i.e., dada for daddy). Non-verbal communication. Jargon (i.e., unintelligible speech) is present. Relates words with physical objects (i.e., understands that the word "ball" actually means the object ball). Responds to simple phrases such as "no".
1 to 2 years Uses mostly nouns and pronouns me/mine. Jargon (unintelligible speech) still present. Increase attention to toys. Changes behavior in response to comments made to him/her. Knows a few simple commands with gestures needed at times. Understands simple questions. Points to simple pictures.
2 to 3 years 3-4 word sentences. Uses two-three word phrases frequently. Asks simple questions. Fluency can be poor. Jargon (unintelligible speech) mostly gone. Vowel sounds intact. Comprehension shows rapid increase. Responds to more 2 step commands with prepositions (i.e., pick up the ball and put it on the table).
3 to 4 years 3-4 word sentences. Pronouns and adjectives are used as well as some adverbs, prepositions, past tense and plurals. Answers what, where, and when questions. Recognizes gender differences, plurals, pronouns,adjectives,and colors
4 to 5 years Vocabulary increases 4-6 word sentences. 3-4 syllable words are being used. Articles appear. Uses more adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions. Fluency improving. Understands if, because, why and when. Follows complex directions.
5 to 6 years Uses complete 5-6 word sentences. Fluent speech. Many multi-syllabic words are used. Understands more complicated sentences.
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