When Should My Child Master That Sound

by | Jan 10, 2022 | News

When children develop neurotypical speech and language patterns, they generally do so in a predictable way. Though every child is unique, for most, speech and language development happens in a series of roughly age-appropriate milestones. Find out which sounds are typical for specific age groups and what signs to look for to identify potential speech or language delays.

What Are Milestones in Speech and Language? 

Milestones are markers that doctors and specialists use to map a child’s progress from birth. While many milestones are loosely related to age, it is essential to remember that each child is different and may not master certain sounds or skills until the very end of the range. In contrast, others may do so at the very beginning. While the scope allows for a span of development, it is widely known that children still develop neurotypically outside of this expected range. 

Language is complex, and it should not surprise that its development frequently happens ahead of and outside of predicted milestones. The CDC lists that a little over 3% of children aged 3 to 17 struggle with language problems. Parents often record and evaluate progress at home to identify speech or language delays in their children who either meet or miss developmental norms. Proper assessment, however, entails more extensive clinical testing. 

Birth to Age 1

  • Imitates actions
  • Claps, Waves
  • Says “Ma,” “Da,” and possibly a few other sounds 
  • Responds to name

From Age 1 to 2

  • Responds to “no” appropriately
  • Combines sounds to make words 
  • Combines small words for directives 
  • Communicates simple needs 

From Age 2 to 3

  • By this age range, parents can typically understand 50-75% of a child’s speech, while others who aren’t the child’s parent may understand 40-50%. 
  • Uses vocabulary of approximately 500 words
  • Can identify items and objects when asked 
  • Refers to self and directs attention by using “me”

From Age 3 to 4

  • Can retell a short story with some detail 
  • Develops a vocabulary of nearly 1,000 words 
  • Can name and identify colors (provided no color deficiency)
  • Begins to memorize and repeat rhymes and songs  

From Age 4 to 5

  • Most of what the child says should be understood by this age range, even by those who do not know or typically interact with the child. 
  • Constructs short sentences 
  • Begins to grasp time and masters the past tense 
  • Asks the big five “Wh” questions 

From Age 5 to 6

  • Possesses a vocabulary of nearly 2,000 words
  • Has mastered nearly all consonant sounds
  • Counts and grasps numerical concepts 
  • Uses more complex sentences

What Are Causes of Speech and Language Delays? 

Speech and language delays can result from no known cause or several combined causes. Nearly 5% of children have speech and/or language disorders by the first grade, many with an unknown reason. A professional evaluation is necessary to diagnose a speech or language delay accurately. The specialists at the Hear Center, a nonprofit hearing and speech clinic, provide many different services to determine if your child has a delay and if the delays are audiological. 

To learn more about the services offered, contact HEAR Center today for more information by calling 626-734-6555 or emailing at info@hearcenter.org.

For more information about early developmental milestones, please visit: https://babynavigator.com/