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Speech and language developmental milestones


Speech and language developmental milestones

Not all children reach the speech and language developmental milestones at the same time, and there can be a variation between many children. Some children will develop certain skills quicker than others, and there are often differences between girls and boys. However, although there are individual differences, we expect most children to reach their milestones within a certain window of time. The information in this section is just a general guideline and many experts vary considerably on what they believe to be the normal stages of development.
To try and make this information easier to read we have created a made-up child called Bill. Bill was lucky, he had a childhood free of any illness or accidents and he had pro-active parents who played with him and gave him lots of quality 1:1 attention.

Click on the links below to download milestones information:


Speech Development Chart
This document gives you a quick reference guide to your child’s speech and language development up to 6 years of age.


Milestones 0 – 12 months
The 0 -12 month period of development is a fascinating period. In this 12 month period Bill starts to make sounds and possibly utter his first word. He starts to link words with objects or people as his understanding of the world begins to develop. He is also learning key social skills such as eye contacting, smiling, and initiating communication to get a response.


Milestones 12 – 18 months
The 12 -18 month period of development sees an increase in Bill’s language capabilities, possibly using 20 words by 18 months, and understanding 50. Bill’s social skills continue to develop, and he is starting to use more gesture and facial expression, as well as the beginnings of turn-taking during communication.


Milestones 18 – 24 months
During the 18 -24 month period of development Bill is walking and exploring more and more. He can now understand between 200 and 300 words and is seeking others out to show them things. Bill’s speech continues to develop as he starts to acquire more speech sounds.


Milestones 24 – 30 months
During the 24 -30 month period of development Bill is starting follow 2-step instructions. His expressive language has increased to 200 words by 30 months and he is becoming much more understandable.


Milestones 30 – 36 months
During the 30 – 36 month period of development Bill’s expressive language continues to increase at a rapid rate and he is now using verbs, adjectives, prepositions and pronouns. He can now understand and follow a requests at a 3-word level.


Milestones 36 – 48 months
During this period Bill acquires most of the speech sounds he will be using, and his sentences are expanding to 4 or 5 words. By 48 months his language is becoming much more complex and he can understand up to 2000 words.


Milestones 48 – 60 months
The 48 – 60 month period of development sees Bill becoming a confident speaker. He now has most of the speech sounds in his inventory, his expressive language contains up to 1500 words and he is 100% intelligible to everyone.


Milestones 60 – 72 months
During the 60 – 72 month period of development Bill will start school. He now speaks fluently, can negotiate and problem solve verbally.


Milestones 72+ months
At the 72+  month period of development Bill is at school. His listening and attention skills are improving so he can attend and learn well.  He has a big vocabulary and can articulate his thoughts and feelings well. He continues to learn new vocabulary and skills.



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