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Believe me, I get it...

Being a parent is not only the most rewarding job we will ever have but also the most nerve wracking. We constantly wonder:

"What should my child be doing by now?"

"Is my child on the right track?" 

"Should I be concerned?"

While the following lists aren't all inclusive, they can help identify your child's strengths and areas of needs.

Click here to learn more about the screenings offered by Olive Speech Therapy, PLLC to help determine if your child is meeting their milestones in a timely manner or if a full evaluation may be warranted.

Speech and Language Milestones

Playing with Animals

Birth to 5

Adapted from: Bowen, C. (1998). Ages and Stages Summary: Language Development 0-5 years. Retrieved from on 2/27/21.

 2 to 3 years 

Receptive Language is what a child understands

  • Aware of environmental sounds

  • Listen to the speech of those around them

  • Startle or cry if there is an unexpected noise

  • Wake and when a loud noise is present 

  • "Still" in response to new sounds

  • Turn when they hear speaking

  • Smile when they hear a familiar voice

  • Respond to comforting tones



  • Respond to the word "no"

  • Respond to changes in tone of voice and non-speech sounds






  • Listen when spoken to

  • Turn when name is called

  • Play games such as "Peek-a-Boo", "Pat-a-Cake", and other finger play songs

  • Recognize names of familiar objects (e.g. "Daddy", "car", "eyes", "phone", "key")

  • Begin to respond to requests (e.g. "Give it to Granny") and questions (e.g. "More juice?")

  • Point to pictures that are named and body parts that are named (e.g. nose, eyes, belly)

  • Follow simple directions (e.g. "Push the bus!", "Don't touch; it's hot!")

  • Understand simple questions (e.g. "Where's the bunny?")

  • Listen to simple stories, songs, and rhymes (typically again and again and again)

  • Understand 2-step commands (e.g. "Get your socks and put them in the basket")

  • Understand contrasting concepts or meanings (e.g. hot/cold, stop/go, and in/on) 

  • Notice sounds like the telephone or doorbell ringing and may point or become excited, get you to answer, or attempt to answer themselves

  • Understand simple "wh" questions (e.g. "who, what, and where")

  • Hear when called from another room (please note: this is an age where hearing difficulties may become evident. If you are in doubt about your child's hearing, see a clinical audiologist.)



  • Enjoy stories and answer simple questions about them

  • Hear and understand nearly everything that is said (within reason) at home, preschool, or daycare

Expressive Language is what a child says

  • Make sounds that let others know that they are experiencing pleasure or pain



  • Smile at you when a familiar person comes into view 

  • Repeat the same sound a lot and "coos and goos" when content

  • Use different cries for different situations (e.g. "I'm hungry", "I need to be changed", "I'm tired", etc.)

  • Make gurgling sounds or "vocal play" when being played with or playing alone

  • Babble using sounds such as /p, b, w, m/ and sometimes sound as though he or she is "talking" 

  • Use sounds or gestures to let you know that they want something or want you to do something

  • Make very "urgent" noises to spur you into action


  • Babble using more consonants and short vowels

  • Use speech or other sounds (i.e. other than crying) in order to get your attention and hold on to it

  • Say first words (e.g. "MaMa", "Doggie", "Night Night", "Bye Bye", "No")




  • Use 50+ words

  • Ask 2-word questions (e.g. "Where ball?" "What's that?" "More milk?" "What that?")

  • Make 2-word statements and requests (e.g. "Birdie go", "No doggie", "More push")

  • Use more initial consonants 



  • Create utterances of one, two, or three words long

  • Can be understood fairly well by family members

  • May ask for, or draw your attention to something by naming it ("Elephant") or one of its attributes ("Big!") or by commenting ("Wow!")



  • Use longer sentences consisting of 4+ words

  • Talk about things that have happened away from home

  • Talk about preschool, friends, outings, and interesting experiences

  • Speech is usually fluent and clear and non-familiar listeners can understand what your child is saying most of the time

  • Use clear and fluent speech 

  • Create long and detailed sentences (e.g. "We went to the zoo but we had to come home early because Sally wasn't feeling well"; "I want to have a horse of my own like Evan, and Daddy says when he wins the lottery he'll buy me one.")

  • Tell a long, involved imaginative story sticking to the topic, and using "adult-like" grammar

  • Use most speech sounds pronounced correctly

  • Communicate easily with familiar adults and other children

  • May tell fantastic, dramatic, inventive, "tall stories"  and engage strangers in conversation when you are out together


 0 to 3 months 

 4 to 6 months 

 7 to 12 months 

 1 to 2 years 

 3 to 4 years 

 4 to 5 years 

Birth to 5
Speech sound development

Speech sound development 

Speech Sound Norms taken from the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 from 2000.

By age 2 years...

  • Beginning of words /b, d, h, m, n, p/

  • Middle of words /b, m, n/

  • End of words /m, p/

By age 3 years...

  • Beginning of words /f, g, k, t, w/

  • Middle of words /f, g, k, (ing), p, t/

  • End of words /b, d, g, k, n, t/

By age 4 years...

  • Beginning of words /kw/

  • Middle of words /d/

  • End of words /f/

By age 5 years...

  • Beginning of words /(ch), (j), l, s, (sh), (y), bl/ 

  • Middle of words /(ch), (j), l, s, (sh), z/

  • End of words /l, (ing), (ch), (j), s, (sh), r, v, z/

By age 6 years...

  • Beginning of words /f, v, br, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, kl, kr, pl, st, tr/

  • Middle of words /r, v/

By age 7 years...

  • Beginning of words /z, sl, sp, sw, (th)/

  • Middle of words /(th)/

  • End of words /(th)/

School aged children

School-aged children

Adapted from: ASHA Your Child's Communication Development: Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade. Retrieved from on 2/27/21.



  • Follow 1-2 step directions in a row

  • Listen to and understand stories

  • Follow a simple conversation


  • Speak clearly so that most people understand 

  • Answer simple "yes/no" questions

  • Ask "wh" questions (e.g. "what toy is that?")

  • Retell a story or talk about something he or she did

  • Use conversational turn-taking

  • Show interest in and start conversations

Kindergarten Student

1st Grade

Portrait of a Happy Child


  • Remember what they hear

  • Follow 2-3 step directions in a row


  • Speak clearly so that most people understand 

  • Answer harder "yes/no" questions

  • Tell and retell stories that make sense

  • Share ideas using complete sentences

  • Use most parts of speech or grammar correctly

  • Ask and answer "wh" questions

  • Stay on topic and take turns in conversation

  • Give directions

  • Start conversations

2nd Grade


  • Follow 3-4 step directions in a row

  • Understand direction words (e.g. here, there, over, next to, before, later)

  • Answer questions about a grade-level story


  • Speak clearly 

  • Answer harder "yes/no" questions

  • Ask and answer "wh" questions

  • Use more complex sentences

  • Explain words and ideas

  • Give directions with 3-4 steps

  • Use words to inform, persuade, and entertain

  • Stay on topic, take turns, and keep eye contact during conversations

  • Start and end conversations


  • Find information to answer questions

  • Explain important parts of a story (e.g. main idea, characters, plot)

  • Use personal experiences to make predictions and inferences

  • Sequence events of a story

Boy's Portrait

3rd Grade

Girl at School


  • Pay attention in groups

  • Understand grade-level information


  • Speak clearly and know when to use a soft or loud voice

  • Ask and answer questions

  • Be a part of conversations

  • Use school-related vocabulary

  • Stay on topic, use eye contact, and take turns in conversations

  • Summarize a story

  • Explain what he or she learned in school


  • Understand root words, prefixes, and suffixes

  • Use context clues from stories to help comprehension

  • Predict and explain what will happen next in a story

  • Compare and contrast stories

  • Ask and answer questions about what he or she reads

  • Use what he or she knows to learn about new topics

4th Grade


  • Listen to and understand information

  • Form opinions

  • Listen for specific reasons (e.g. to learn, to enjoy, for convenience)


  • Use words correctly in conversation​

  • Use language for a variety of reasons (e.g. argue, joke, ask questions)

  • Understand figurative language 

  • Participate in group discussions

  • Give correct directions to others

  • Summarize ideas in his or her own words

  • Organize information in a logical way


  • Use what he or she knows to learn about new topics

  • Follow written directions

  • Learn meanings of new words by understanding synonyms/antonyms, word origins, etc.

  • Read and understand different types of writing (e.g. fiction, nonfiction, poetry)

  • Make inferences

  • Paraphrase

Sunday School

5th Grade

Back to School


  • Listen and draw conclusions


  • Make planned speeches

  • Take part in class discussions

  • Summarize main points

  • Report about information


  • Learn meanings of new words by understanding synonyms/antonyms, word origins, etc.

  • Decide what information is important when reading

  • Read and understand different types of writing (e.g. fiction, nonfiction, poetry)

  • Use reference materials to support opinions

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