There’s no doubt that children’s milestones are anticipated and treasured moments for every parent.
However, milestones are also important behavioral or physical checkpoints in children’s development, so they should be monitored closely to make sure everything is going well.
When it comes to speech related milestones, paying attention to these can uncover developmental issues in children, like hearing impairment for example.
Also, since every child develops at their own pace, it can be difficult to determine if there’s a need to find help.
If you would like to find out more about the speech related milestones your child should be reaching, or if you have already noticed some concerning speech patterns or delays, please keep reading.
We’re District Speech, a Washington DC speech therapy clinic who offers speech therapy for kids.
If your child is showing signs they’re falling behind with their developmental milestones, we can help.
For now, let’s find out more.
What Are Speech Development Milestones?
As mentioned previously, milestones in general are important checkpoints in children’s development.
These functional skills are age specific tasks that the majority of children can do around a certain age.
Speech development milestones in particular happen when children start recognizing the basic sounds of their environment, including language, which they try to understand and imitate.
Is Your Child Meeting Their Speech Development Milestones?
Not all children reach their speech milestones when they should, since every child is different and they learn at their own pace, so there’s no need to panic over reasonable delays.
If it’s a week or two late but they look like they’re still making progress, it’s generally not cause for concern.
However, if you notice strange symptoms or behaviors accompanied by speech delay, it’s a good idea to bring them to see a speech therapist.
There are a few different reasons for this.
First of all, speech therapy early intervention has been shown to be more effective than waiting until later.
But also, children who are not developing their language skills properly might actually suffer from hearing problems, and it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.
Make sure to take note of their developmental milestones and share this information with your health care provider, so you can get more answers.
The following are some guidelines that can help you determine if your child is meeting their speech milestones.
By 3 Months Old
By the time your child is three months old, they ought to:
- Smile when they see you
- Become quiet or smile when spoken to
- Be able to recognize your voice
- Make cooing sounds
- Vocalize their emotions by crying, laughing, or fussing
- Cry to express their needs
By 6 Months Old
By the time your child is six months old, they ought to:
- Start baby babbling
- Make gargling sounds when playing or left alone
- Make sounds to express what they like and don’t like
- Track sounds with their eyes
- Respond to changes in your tone of voice
- Pay attention to music
- Understand the meaning of “no-no”
- Say “ba-ba-ba”, “ma-ma” or “da-da” without meaning
- Try to communicate using gestures
- Try to imitate sounds
- Say their first word
By 12 Months Old
By the time your child is 12 months old, they ought to:
- Try imitating speech
- Say a few words like “dada” and “mama”
- Answer simple questions nonverbally
- Try to imitate simple words
- Understand when they are called
- Recognize words for common items
- Have a vocabulary of 4 to 6 words
By 18 Months Old
By the time your child is 18 months old, they ought to:
- Follow simple directions
- Know the name of common foods
- Recognize names of family members, objects, and body parts
- Imitate animal sounds
- Start to combine words
- Use two word phrases
- Say about 10 words
- Have a vocabulary of 50 words, even if the pronunciation is unclear
By 2 Years Old
By the time your child is 2 years old, they ought to:
- Use simple phrases
- Follow simple commands
- Understand simple questions
- Know descriptive words
- Use three word sentences
- Begin to use plurals and regular past tense verbs
- Speak about 50 or more words
- Know spatial concepts, such as “in” or “on”
- Know pronouns, such as “you” or “me”
What To Do If Your Child Isn’t Meeting Their Milestones
If you notice delays in your child’s speech and language development, based on the guidelines above, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a speech therapist.
However, always remember that each child learns at their own pace and according to their environment.
It’s important to keep communication with your child, as they imitate what they hear, unless they suffer from undiagnosed hearing loss or a developmental disorder.
If this is the case, a speech therapist would be able to identify the problem, but parents can usually tell something is amiss, based on unique behavioral patterns and symptoms.
Here are some ways you can interact with your child, in order to strengthen their speech skills:
- Let your child know that you are happy when they speak
- Teach them animal sounds
- Teach them how to count
- Imitate your child’s sounds
- Try to always speak clearly to them, but some baby talk is fine from time to time
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
If you suspect your child might have some developmental delays based on the guidelines presented in this article, you might want to consider working with a speech therapist.
If you are not sure about making this decision yet, follow the recommendations mentioned previously and keep track of your child’s speech related milestones.
Remember that professional help is always available for you and your child, and that District Speech can provide you with experienced pediatric speech therapists at any time.
Book an appointment to schedule an assessment today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.