Early Language Development Checklist

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    Birth to Five Months

    • By the time a baby is five months old he will have generally developed certain speech and language skills. These include reacting to loud sounds; turning his head towards the source of a sound such the television; responding to his name; watching your face when you speak; using pleasure or displeasure sounds such as laughing, giggling, crying or fussing; and making noises when spoken to.

    Six to 11 Months

    • During the second half of the first year babies become more active; they begin to develop the ability to use their body as well as their voice. During this period babies will begin to understand "no;" try to communicate through the use of actions or gestures; use nodding or shaking of the head to say "yes" or "no;" babble with phrases such as "ma-ma-ma-ma" and "da-da-da;" and repeat the sounds you make.

    Twelve to 17 Months

    • As babies grow to toddlers their speech and language skills develop significantly. During this period milestones should be mastered such as playing with the same book or toy for at least two minutes; understanding simple instructions, especially when accompanied by physical cues; answering simple questions non verbally; pointing to objects, pictures and family members; saying two or three words to label a person or object; and trying to imitate simple words.

    Eighteen to 24 Months

    • By the age of , toddlers should enjoy being read to, and they can turn the pages in a board book and will often point to and name the things they recognize; point to simple body parts such as the nose; follow simple commands without gestures; use language that is predominantly made up of nouns such as asking for common foods by name; start to combine words such as "more milk;" and begin to use pronouns such as "mine."

    Two to Three Years

    • Between the ages of 2 and 3, sentences begin to develop and children can answer simple questions such as "what's that?" or "where is the cat?" This is helped by language milestones such as knowing some spatial concepts such as "in", "on;" knowing and using pronouns such as "I", "me", "you" and "her;" knowing descriptive words such as "big," and "happy;" and using question inflection to ask for something (e.g., "My ball?").

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