As a special educator, one of the most common questions I get asked is “Do you think my kid talks enough?” or “Do you think their language/speech is normal?” Each child is very different. BUT there are some milestones that your kids should be hitting to put them in that “Typical” range. Here is a quick and simple look at where your child should be when it comes to Language Development
Intentional Communication starts anywhere from about 9-13 months. Intentional communication means that your child is gesturing or vocalizing for a purpose. For example: getting someone to do something for them, engaging in social games, and being part of joint attention. Your child will also be showing non-linguistic comprehension. This means that they understand gestures, facial expressions, voice intonation, eye gazes etc…. They also have environmental awareness (knowing and understanding what is going on around them.) and the knowledge of what to do with given objects.
You will also see your child’s first words by about 12 months old. If they haven’t used any “real words” by 14-15 months talk to your pediatrician. There are a a few things that need to happen before your child will talk. To see those things check out this article!
First Words (13-18 Months)
Like just mentioned your child will start using their first words around 12-13 months. Your child may also be using signs to refer to certain objects. Or if you have taught your child signs you may start seeing your child use those independently. Here are some things you might notice about your child’s first few words. For a more in depth view on what happens month to month check out this “Month to Month Guide to Baby Babble”
- By 13-18 months old your child should be using about 10-20 solid words. Their vocabulary growth could be pretty slow. Hang in there! it will come!
- You might notice words coming and going. Every now and then they might use the word “Ball” all day. Then not say it for a week. If you notice that your child is dropping a lot of words and not picking them back up, talk to your pediatrician.
- Your child will start to combine gestures and sounds to communicate needs and wants. (Pointing while trying to say words, clapping and yelling, signing etc…)
- Most of your child’s words will be used to comment or request things in their immediate environment.
- You will also notice that your child is developing comprehension of relevant single words in their immediate environment. (For example when you say “Shoes” they know what you are talking about.)
Word Combinations (18-30 Months)
At this age you will start to see a huge jump in language. At about 19 months your child will go through what is called a “Language Explosion”. Your child might be learning upwards of 9 words a day…..WHAT!? Nuts right? Here are some other things you will notice about your child’s language from 18-30 months. Click here to find ways to increase your child’s language use.
- You should not be seeing the “Coming and Going” of language anymore. Their words should be sticking around for good! And they should be dding to those words.
- Your child should be able to put at least to words together by this time.
- Your child should be able to engage in conversation. (This is little people conversation level- don’t expect them to hop in to your conversation and put in their two bits).
- By this time they should be requesting information “Wassat?” providing information “A BALL!!”, and talking about things in the past. “Daddy ride bus!”
- They will also understand word and phrase meanings but it normally depends on their immediate environment. (Meaning, they typically will understand better what is being talked about if it is in context to their current surroundings.)
Sentences and Grammar (30 Months- 5 Years)
These years are some of the funnest in language development! This is when they actually start putting things together that make sense. Telling funny stories, saying funny things etc… You will also see some of the following. To find out what speech sounds your child should be using go here.
- You child will start to use language to regulate theirs and other peoples actions. They will start to plan and anticipate outcomes, they will start to talk about experiences (past and present) they may tell you about things they have imagined as well as actual things happening. By this time you will also hear them talk about their feelings and other’s feelings.
- They will begin to use (or try to use) grammar in the right way.
- They will also begin to comprehend sentences basked on grammatical composition. (They may even start to correct you when you are wrong!
Remember, All children develop at their own speed. However if your child isn’t hitting some or many of their developmental milestones ask your pediatrician!!