As speech pathologists, we are specialists in all forms of communication, including non-verbal communication. This means we are able to assess the communication skills of children as young as 3 months old. Before your child is 2 years old there are many communication milestones that we are able to consider to identify if there are any early signs of a language delay. Remember a speech pathology assessment doesn’t mean something is wrong. We are here to provide you with the tools and resources you need to help you develop your child’s communication skills.
At this age babies start to show reaction to others. They should begin to:
- Make noises other than crying e.g. coos, gurgles
- Respond to sounds by turning their head, smiling or startling
- Appear to listen to the speaker
- Recognise caregivers voice and smiles or coos in response.
Possible concern: If your baby isn’t responding or taking notice of others
At this age babies begin to interact actively with others and make more noises. They should begin to:
- Respond to their own name on some occasions
- Discriminate between angry and friendly voices
- Vocalise for needs and wants
- Play at making sounds e.g. blows raspberries, coos, yells
- Imitate facial expressions
- Start to understand verbal turn-taking. Responding to an adult’s speech with a vocalisation.
Possible concern: If your baby isn’t making baby noises
Babies at this age begin to “babble”. They should be:
- Repeating CV syllables e.g. ‘pa pa’ and ‘ba ba’
- Copying patterns of intonation
- Using reaching and pointing to request
- Making noises to get attention
- Responding to “no”
Possible concern: Your baby is quiet most of the time.
Around this age babies begin to produce speech-like sounds. They will begin to:
- Start to use varied patterns of word-like babble e.g. “ba-di-pa”
- Initiate games with adults
- Begin to follow simple requests e.g. “Put that down”
- Say their first word around the age of 12 months
Possible concern: Your baby is not babbling
At this age toddlers are beginning to use single words to communicate. They should begin to:
- Use approximately 7-10 words consistently
- Imitate new words spontaneously
- Follow one-step directions
- Identify a range of body parts
- Understand wh-questions
Possible concern: Your toddler has difficulty understanding what others are saying.
Around this age toddlers are increasing their vocabulary and their use verbal language to communicate. They should:
- Understand at least 50 words
- Demonstrate at least 10 or more meaningful words in their spoken vocabulary
- Imitate other children
- Decrease use of gestures to communicate
Possible concern: Your toddler has not produced their first word.
At this age toddlers begin to combine words to communicate their wants and needs. They should be:
- Following 2-step directions
- Developing turn-taking in conversation
- Using new words regularly
- Beginning to use their own name
- Increasing their vocabulary with at least 50-200 words by 24 months
- By 24 months they are producing 2-3-word phrases
Possible concern: Your toddler is not regularly adding words to their vocabulary or combining words into short phrases.
So, if you have any concerns in any of these milestones, it is not too early for a speech pathology assessment. Please contact us with any questions you may have. We can do the assessment face to face in our clinic, or via telehealth from the safety of your own home.