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Communications Milestones

Milestones show developmental skills most children have by a certain age. Communication milestones will help you
  • Know what to expect as your child develops
  • Determine if your child is on-track or requires extra help

If your child is not meeting communication milestones contact:

  • Quiets or smiles in response to sounds or familiar voices
  • Looks toward sounds and watches your face while you talk
  • Makes pleasure sounds – coos, gurgles, squeals (ah, oooo)
  • Makes different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)
  • Communicates back to you with smiles, gazes, sounds, and crying
  • Makes eye contact, gazes at faces 
  • Turns to where sound is coming from; gets excited hearing your voice as you approach
  • Reacts to changes in tone of voice and facial expressions
  • Makes noises using voice to get attention
  • Babbles different consonant and vowel sounds (baba, dee, ummm, puh)
  • Laughs out loud with pleasure and excitement - enjoys social games (peek-a-boo) and when you sing
  • Makes sounds when talked to (beginning conversation-like turns), starts imitating 
  • ‎Responds to name and turns to look to someone talking across the room
  • Looks at familiar people and common objects when named (“Auntie”, “shoe”, “ball”, “doggie”)
  • Imitates speech and non-speech sounds
  • Says several sounds all in one breath, as if talking (uhbuh-apa-aboo,  da-didi-dada, mamam-baba)
  • Gets your attention by looking at your eyes while using gestures, sounds and pointing to communicate
  • Points and pays attention to where you are looking and pointing
  • Begins to follow simple requests like "Come here", “Sit down”, "Find the ball"
  • Clearly repeats a variety of consonant-vowel speech-like sounds (uhbuh abee dadoo, dada gaga mamoo)
  • Uses three to five words, although they may not be clear
  • Gets you to repeat favourite songs and actions/games
  • Produces long strings of “gibberish” with intonation/rhythms, as if conversing, takes turns talking with you‎
  • Consistently follows simple directions and understands routines ("Want more?", “Give it to Mommy”, “Show Grandma”)
  • Looks for things when asked (“Where’s Teddy?”)
  • Uses 10 or more words
  • Tries to imitate simple words
  • Makes many different consonant sounds (early consonants - b, m, n, p, d, g, w ,h)
  • Uses more gestures such as clapping, blowing a kiss, and using a “shhh” finger to mouth
  • Pretends with toys and “talks” to them (e.g., asks teddy if he wants juice, and gives a cup to drink)‎
  • Understands at least 50 words or more, and many phrases
  • Responds to questions
  • Using many words (30 or more), may start to put words together
  • Asks for common foods by name
  • Word-like gestures such as a nod, thumbs up, hand or finger up for “wait/one second”, high five, waving or pinching the nose for “stinky”, and “I dunno” shrug
  • Enjoys being read to and looking at books‎
  • Understands many more words than able to say/sign

  • Understands new directions like "Find Grandpa's hat and give it to him"

  • Uses at least 50 words by 21 months of age
  • Uses 100 to 150 words or more by 24 months of age
  • Combines two to four words in short phrases (“doggy go bye bye”,  “daddy coat”)
  • Takes turns in conversation with adults
  • Pretends to read to stuffed animals or toys‎
  • Between two and three years of age there is a language explosion
    • Asks questions (what, where, who)
    • Creates longer sentences of 5-8 words
    • Follows two requests ("Get the book and put your mittens on the table")
    • Understands some space and time concepts (e.g., here/there, later/before) 
    • Listens to stories and answers simple questions
    • Talks about past events
    • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
    • Begins taking turns with other children using toys and words
  • Between 3 – 4 years of age children are using adult-like sentences in conversations and are easily understood by others (some sounds may not be pronounced clearly yet)‎

    This is not an exhaustive list of resources.  BC Early Hearing Program does not endorse any particular resource.  ‎


    SOURCE: Communications Milestones ( )
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