Speech & Hearing Milestones

If you don’t know what to look for, it can be difficult to catch hearing loss in children, especially infants. The key to healthy development in children is early detection of any disorders. Several medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have developed general speech and language milestones that identify healthy and normal development in children. Below are some milestones that may be useful in monitoring your child’s hearing, speech and language development.

Hearing 0-6 mos.

  • Reacts to sounds close by
  • Recognizes mother’s voice
  • Enjoys noisemakers
  • Turns eyes/head to search for sounds

Speech 0-6mos.

  • Establishes rhythmic suck-swallow pattern
  • Produces fussing, crying, burping and cooing sounds’
  • Vocalizes “ma” or “mu”

Language 0-6 mos.

  • Moves in response to voice
  • Expresses feelings by cooing, gurgling or crying
  • Smiles at speaker
  • Laughs

Cognition 0-6 mos.

  • Responds and imitates facial expressions
  • Smiles/vocalizes to mirror image

Hearing 6-18 mos.

  • Imitates speech
  • Responds to name
  • Responds physically to music
  • Shows interest in television or music sounds

Speech 6-18 mos.

  • Babbles using consonant-vowel syllables
  • Imitates sounds
  • Communicates in unintelligible speech

Language 6-18 mos.

  • Recognizes names of family members
  • Is attentive to pictures
  • Gives objects upon request

Cognition 6-18 mos.

  • Plays games such as peek-a-boo
  • Imitates clapping and nodding
  • Points to named pictures
  • Laughs at silly actions

Hearing 18 mos.-3 yrs.

  • Understands when called from another room
  • Remembers what was heard in the correct order
  • Answers questions about a picture or book

Speech 18 mos.-3 yrs.

  • Correctly pronounces most vowels
  • Pitch is lower and more stable
  • Speech is understood by others about 40% of the time
  • Speaks loudly

Language 18 mos.-3 yrs.

  • Follows 2-step commands
  • Uses 3-word sentences
  • Asks simple questions
  • Shows interest in why

Cognition 18 mos.-3 yrs.

  • Pretend play familiar situations
  • Names colors

Hearing 3-6 yrs.

  • Listens attentively
  • Retells stories
  • Identifies words that rhyme

Speech 3-6 yrs.

  • Increases speech speed
  • 80-90% speech is understood by others

Language 3-6 yrs.

  • Expresses ideas and describes objects
  • Uses because, when, it and so
  • Uses pronouns, prepositions and articles correctly, consistently
  • Uses sentences with 8+ words

Cognition 3-6 yrs.

  • Tells color of an unseen object
  • Understands written letters represent spoken words
  • Begins to read and write

Hearing 6-8 yrs.

  • Provides summary after listening to information once

Speech 6-8 yrs.

  • Average articulation by age 7
  • By age 8, masters more difficult syllables such as “sh” and “ch”

Language 6-8 yrs.

  • Uses past tense
  • Develops passive voice
  • Uses well formed narratives

Cognition 6-8 yrs.

  • Tells jokes
  • Tells own address, phone number
  • Names months of the year
  • Can tell time

*Information in this chart came from http://firstyears.org/miles/chart.htm