18 Months to 3 Years of Age

Early intervention is the key to a child's communicative success.

Children with communication delays can be identified as early as 18 months of age because they are not meeting their developmental milestones. There is a range of accepted communication milestones, but there are certain stages of development for which each child should progress.

The following represents the typical stages of development:

At 18 months of age, your child should:

  • respond to his or her name consistently
  • say at least 10 familiar words
  • produce four or more different sounds (ba, da, na, ma)
  • imitate familiar sounds (such as car or animal sounds)

At 21 months of age, your child should:

  • say 15 to 20 words
  • hand you a toy or other object on request
  • understand common directions (such as "sit down" or "come here")

At 24 months of age, your child should:

  • follow directions involving prepositions ("put it on the table")
  • recognize objects by function ("show me what you can ride")
  • say a minimum of 50 words
  • put two words together ("more milk" or "go mommy")
  • produce six or more different sounds (pa, ba, da, na, ta, wa, ma)
  • be understood approximately 60% of the time (speech clarity)

At 30 months of age, your child should:

  • consistently use two-word sentences
  • ask for assistance
  • answer yes/no questions
  • be understood approximately 75% of the time
  • be adding 100 new words per month
  • imitate words and phrases easily

At 3 years of age, your child should:

  • follow two-step directions ("go get your shoes and get in the car")
  • use three- to five-word sentences
  • ask "how" and "why" questions
  • be understood 90% of the time by all listeners
  • say most sounds correctly (except s, th, r, l and blends)