Every child is unique and has an individual rate of development. This chart represents, on average, the age by which most children will accomplish the listed skills. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range. Just because your child has not accomplished one skill within an age range does not mean your child has a disorder. However, if you have answered “no” to the majority of items in an age range, please call 423-669-6331 to schedule an evaluation with one of our speech-language pathologists.

Hearing & Understanding


Birth-3 Months

  • Startles to loud sounds

  • Quiets or smiles when spoken to

  • Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying

  • Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound


4-6 Months

  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds

  • Responds to changes in tone of your voice

  • Notices toys that make sounds

  • Pays attention to music


7 Months-1 year

  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds

  • Listens when spoken to

  • Recognizes words for common items like “cup,” “shoe,” “juice,” “book”

  • Begins to respond to requests (“Come here,” “Want more?”)


1-2 Years

  • Points to a few body parts when asked

  • Follows single directions and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,’ “Kiss the baby,” “Where’s your shoe?”)

  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes

  • Points to pictures in a book when named


2-3 Years

  • Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up-down”)

  • Follows two requests (“Get the books and put it on the table”)

  • Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time


3-4 Years

  • Hears you when you call from another room

  • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members

  • Answers simple “who?,” “what?,” “when?,” “why?” questions


4-5 Years

  • Pays attention to short stories and answers simple questions about them

  • Understands words that involve sequencing (first, next, last) and time (yesterday, today, tomorrow)

  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school




Birth-3 Months

  • Makes pleasure sounds (cooing, gooing)

  • Cries differently for different needs

  • Smiles when sees you


4-6 Months

  • Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b, and m

  • Chuckles and laughs

  • Vocalizes excitement and displeasure

  • Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you


7 Months-1 Year

  • Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds each as “tata upup bibibibi”

  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention

  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)

  • Imitates different speech sounds

  • Has 1 or 2 words (hi, dog, dad, mama) around first birthday, although all sounds may not be clear


1-2 Years

  • Says more words every month

  • Uses some 1-2 word questions (“where kitty?” “go bye-bye?” “What’s that?”)

  • Puts 2 words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”)

  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words


2-3 Years

  • Has a word for almost everything

  • Uses 2-3 words to talk about and ask for things

  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds

  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time

  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them


3-4 Years

  • Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes

  • People outside family usually understand child’s speech

  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words

  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words


 4-5 Years

  • Uses sentences that give lots of details (“The biggest peach is mine”)

  • Tells stories that stick to topic

  • Communicates easily with other children and adults

  • Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh, th

  • Says rhyming words

  • Names some letters and numbers

  • Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family


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