Language Development 0-24 months

From Robert E Owens Jr 1996 “Language Development – An Introduction”

Speech Therapy Checklist:

Ages 0-3 months

  • Looks intently at a speaker
  • Listens to voices
  • Establishes eye contact with mother
  • Quiets when held and also quiets when hears human voice (1 month)
  • Makes going or gutteral sounds (2 months)
  • Visually searches for sounds (3 months)
  • Smiles spontaneously (1 month)
  • Turns when hears human voice (3 months)
  • Responds vocally to the speech of others (3 months)
  • Makes predominantly vowel sounds (3 months)
  • Coos single sound syllables (consonant vowel)
  • Vocalises to indicate pleasure and displeasure
  • Laughs, gurgles, squeals, cries, screams
  • Responds to familiar faces – visually discriminates different people and things and recognises mother (3 months)
  • Begins exploratory play – explores own body (3 months)

4 months

  • Reacts to sounds and turns his/her head to locate the sound
  • Looks in direction of person leaving the room
  • Smiles at notice of another baby
  • Anticipates being lifted
  • Laughs when played with
  • Discriminates different faces – joyful vs. angry
  • Babbles strings of consonants
  • Varies pitch and imitates tones
  • Smiles at person speaking to him/her

5 months

  • Visually follows a vanishing object
  • Is capable of a 3 hour visual memory
  • Explores objects by mouthing and touching
  • Reacts differently to smiling and scolding
  • Vocalises to toys
  • Discriminates angry and friendly voices
  • Responds to name
  • Smiles and vocalises to image in mirror
  • Imitates some sounds

6 months

  • Vocalises pleasure and displeasure and squeals with excitement
  • Varies volume, pitch and rate
  • Prefers people games such as “peek-a-boo”
  • Explores face of person holding him/her
  • Differentiates social responses
  • Looks and reaches smoothly and quickly
  • Inspects objects and reaches to grab dropped objects

7 months

  • Visually searches briefly for toy that disappears
  • Plays vocally
  • Imitates a physical act if in repertoire
  • Teases (beginning of humour)
  • Produces several sounds in one breath and listens to vocalisation of others

8 months

  • Recognises some words
  • Repeats emphasised syllable
  • Imitates gestures and tonal quality of adult speech; echolalia
  • Is clearly attached to mother
  • Shouts for attention
  • Explores shape, weight, texture, function and properties (e.g. in/out)
  • Prefers relatively complex toys

9 months

  • Explores other babies
  • “performs” for family and imitates play
  • Plays action games
  • Uses social gestures
  • Imitates coughs, hisses, clicks, raspberries
  • Anticipates outcome of events and return of persons
  • Uncovers object if observes act of hiding first

10 months

  • Displays moods
  • Helps dress and feed self
  • Imitates adult speech if sounds in repertoire
  • Obeys some commands
  • Points to body parts
  • Searches for a hidden object but usually in a familiar place

11 months

  • Seeks approval
  • Anticipates mother’s goal and tries to change it by protest or “persuasion”
  • Associates properties with objects
  • Imitates inflections, rhythms, facial expressions

12 months

  • Expresses people’s preferences
  • Expresses many different emotions
  • Searches in a location where an object was last seen
  • Uses common objects appropriately
  • Can reach while looking away
  • Recognises own name
  • Speaks one or more words
  • Follows simple motor instructions especially if accompanied by a visual cue (bye bye)
  • Reacts to “no” intonation
  • Practices words he/she knows

15 months

  • points to clothes, persons, toys and animals named
  • uses jargon and words in conversation
  • has 4 to 6 word vocabulary
  • plays in solitary manner
  • pushes toys
  • likes music and dancing
  • looks for adults when left alone
  • imitates housework
  • plays make believe

18 months

  • begins to use two word utterances
  • has approximately 20 word vocabulary
  • identifies some body parts
  • refers to self by name
  • “sings” and hums spontaneously
  • Plays question-answer with adults
  • Explores reactions of others; tests others
  • Enjoys solitary play engages in increased cooperative play from her on
  • Pretends to feed doll
  • Uses a stick as a toy
  • Imitates adult object use
  • Remembers places where objects are usually located
  • Recognises self in mirror and recognises picture

21 months

  • hugs spontaneously
  • plays near but not with other children
  • likes toy telephone, doll and truck for play
  • likes rhyming games
  • pulls person to show something
  • tries to “tell” experiences
  • uses “I” and “mine”
  • knows shapes
  • sits alone for short periods with book
  • notices little objects and small sounds

24 months

  • has 200-300 word vocabulary
  • names most common everyday objects
  • uses short, incomplete sentences
  • uses some prepositions (in, on) and pronouns (I, me, you) but not always correctly
  • Uses some regular verb endings (-s, -ed, -ing) and plural ‘s’
  • Enjoys parallel play predominantly
  • Cooperates with adults in small household tasks
  • Communicates feelings, desires and interests
  • Imagines toys have life qualities
  • Prefers action toys
  • Orders others around
  • Can role play in a limited manner
  • Matches familiar objects
  • Comprehends “one” and “many”

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