speech skills children

Speech Development for Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children

Is My Baby’s Speech Development Typical?

Even though your child can’t yet answer your questions, it’s still important that you talk to it from the minute he or she is born.

First, your baby simply loves hearing your voice. And second, listening to you talk – the pattern of your voice, the fact that certain sounds are attached to certain objects – will help your child learn how to talk itself!

Remember, all babies develop at their own pace, so use the information in this section simply as a guide.If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, please contact your pediatrician and schedule an evaluation with a speech language pathologist.

Speech Development Milestones by Age Group

0 – 8 Months

When you hold your baby, trying singing a song. Your infant enjoys the repetitive nature of a melody it hears again and again. Add the soothing movement of a rocking chair and see who falls asleep faster, you or your baby! Read more!

8 – 12 Months

Around eight months, you’ll notice your baby has a lot to say. He or she will play with sounds like “ba ba ba,” as well as know that “dada” means Dad. Read more!

12 – 24 Months

Clap to the beat. While listening to music, show your baby how to move and clap in rhythm. Expose your baby to everything from classical and country to rock and roll. Read more!

24 – 36 Months

Most two-and-a-half-year olds can: Use 50+ words, Answer questions, Refer to self as “I” or “me” Read more!

36 – 48 Months

Most four year olds can tell a story, have a sentence length of 4-5 words, have a vocabulary of nearly 1,000 words. Read more!

48 – 60 Months

Most five year olds have sentence length of 4-5 words, use past tense correctly, have a vocabulary of nearly 1,500 words. Read more!

Stuttering and Speech Development

My child is 2-years old and is stuttering. What should I do? Stuttering, or disfluency, at this age is very common.

Normal disfluency can occur between the ages of 1 and 5 years of age. These disfluencies usually indicate the child is increasing his or her receptive language (understanding of language) and/or expressive language (use of language).

At this age, stuttering can come and go as your toddler’s skills continue to develop.

Common disfluencies for children this age are syllable repetitions (ca- cat), using interjections (um, er), and repeating whole words or phrases (“Mom mom I want a drink.”).  Children are usually calm during these disfluencies.

Children who are at risk for stuttering can demonstrate repetition of a word 3 or more times, substitute ‘uh’ for the vowels in words such as “cuh, cuh, cuh, cat” or engage in prolongations like “ccccccccat”.  The pattern during a prolongation/repetition is not smooth and facial/body tension during these disfluencies is noticeable.

If you notice your child stuttering, do not call attention to it. Give the child time to independently complete his or her thought. Do not put pressure on the child and talk with him or her at a relaxed rate of speech. If you begin to notice the ‘at risk for stuttering’ patterns, you should contact your pediatrician and schedule an evaluation with a speech language pathologist.