Speech & Language Checklist

Our speech and language checklist shows common speech and language behaviour at different ages.

Look at the checklist that is closest to your child’s age right now, but do not use an age that is older than your child’s age. For example, if your child is 13 months old, look at the 12 months checklist.

If you leave one or more check boxes blank, or if you are worried about your child’s speech and language skills, call Here4Kids at 1-844-4-KIDS-11 (1-844-454-3711).

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6 MONTHS - Does your child…?

  • Make several vowel sounds (e.g. ooh, aah, ee)
  • Imitate some sounds (like coughing)
  • Make silly sounds with their mouth like “raspberries"
  • Reach for, hold and put toys in their mouth
  • Cry to an angry voice and smile to a pleasant voice
  • Enjoy games like “peek-a-boo” and tickling
  • Turn to you when you speak

9 MONTHS - Does your child...?

  • Use sounds or gestures to let you know what they want (e.g. reaches out to be picked up)
  • Babble (e.g. “mamama” or “bababa”)
  • Take turns with you making sounds back and forth
  • Use a sing-song voice when playing alone
  • Respond to their own name
  • Understand “no”

12 MONTHS - Does your child…?

  • Make many different sounds together, as though really talking
  • Imitate or use sounds you make (e.g. “Wee!” or “Oh-oh”)
  • Imitate or use gestures (e.g. waving “bye-bye”)
  • Say 3 to 5 words (e.g. “mama,” “dada,” or “doo” for “juice”)
  • Follow simple instructions (e.g. “sit down” or “come here”)
  • Understand some words that go with gestures (e.g. “give me” as you extend your hand)
  • Bring you toys to show you and/or to play with

18 MONTHS - Does your child...?

  • Use 20 or more words (e.g. “no,” “ba” for “ball,” “more,” “up”)
  • Use more new words every week
  • Begin to put 2 words together (e.g. “What’s that?” “No juice”)
  • Answer “What’s this?” questions with true words like “car,” “dog,” or “book”
  • Make these sounds: p, b, m, n, d, g
  • Understand more words than they can say
  • Follow simple instructions without gestures (e.g. “Show me the book” and “Give me the shoe”)
  • Point to 3 body parts (e.g. eyes, nose, and mouth)
  • Use toys for pretend play (e.g. uses a block as a car)

24 MONTHS - Does your child...?

  • Use 150 to 300 different words.
  • Use 2 pronouns (e.g. I, me, you)
  • Use two-word combinations most of the time. (e.g. “me go” or “more cookie” or “Daddy car”)
  • Speak clearly enough to be understood about 2/3 of the time
  • Point to familiar actions/activities in pictures (e.g. sleeping, eating)
  • Follow directions to put objects “on,” “off” or “in”
  • Choose among common objects when asked, like “Find the comb”

30 MONTHS - Does your child...?

  • Use at least 450 different words
  • Begin to use verbs with “ing” endings (e.g. eating)
  • Say their first name when asked
  • Answer questions like “Where is Teddy?” and “What is Mommy doing?”
  • Use sentences of up to 3 words combining nouns and verbs (e.g. “Daddy go car.”)
  • Put sounds at the beginning of most words
  • Understand concepts such as “big” and “little”
  • Begin to point to objects from a group by their function and parts (e.g. “Which one has wheels?” “Which one can we eat?”)

3 YEARS - Does your child...?

  • Use 900 to 1000 different words.
  • Use sentences of 3 or more words
  • Ask questions like “Who?” “Where?” and “Why?”
  • Talk about things that happened in the past
  • Tell a simple story
  • Speak clearly enough for people outside the family to understand most of the time
  • Put sounds at the beginning and end of most words
  • Follow two-part directions without gestures (e.g. “Go to the kitchen and get your hat”)

4 YEARS - Does your child...?

  • Use 4 to 5 word sentences that have adult-like grammar
  • Tell a story that is easy to follow, with a beginning middle and end
  • Predict what might happen next in a new story
  • Give first and last name, gender and age
  • Use most consonant and vowel sounds correctly
  • Speak clearly enough to be understood by people outside the family all of the time
  • Follow three-part directions (e.g. “Get your boots, put them on, and wait at the door”)

Download a copy of the checklist here.

Developmental Milestones

The Nipissing District Developmental Screens (NDDS) are helpful developmental checklists for infants and children up to 6 years of age.

**Checklist adapted with permission from tykeTalk