Do you wonder what milestones your child should be hitting, and when? Here are some guidelines to help you figure out what's going on

Developmental Milestones that Come Before Words

You might be looking for your child’s first words, but some important milestones usually precede true words:

  • Reciporical play: when speaking to your child, you pause and wait expectantly, and the child “talks” back to you using babbling-type sounds
  • Vocalizes to objects: your child looks at something in his hand and vocalizes a variety of consonants and vowels
  • Imitates sounds: your child is interested in watching you make sounds, and attempts to vocalize raspberries, animal sounds, and other silly sounds
  • Joint attention: you and your child share interest in the same item. Your child looks at you, then the toy, then back at you
  • Initiating social games: your child initiates rolling a ball back and forth, playing chase, or peek-a-boo
  • Imitates movements: your child imitates movements to copy you, such as hand clapping
  • Points to objects: your child points to objects he wants, to show you things, or to ask what something is
  • Gesturing: your child waves his arms to be picked up, waves bye-bye
  • Social referencing: your child looks to make sure you’re watching while he plays

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association defines the following as signs of a possible language disorder:

  • Doesn't smile or interact with others (birth–3 months)
  • Doesn't babble (4–7 months)
  • Makes few sounds (7–12 months)
  • Does not use gestures (e.g., waving, pointing) (7–12 months)
  • Doesn't understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12–18 months)
  • Doesn't put words together to make sentences (1½–2 years)
  • Says fewer than 50 words (2 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2–3 years)
  • Has problems with early reading and writing skills—for example, may not show an interest in books or drawing (2½–3 years) 

Though these guidelines are not a complete measure of skills, Jones Therapy Services would love to help address any concerns you have about your child’s speech and language skills. Please contact our office to schedule an evaluation!

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