Receptive and Expressive Language Development Milestones
Age 1

(Based on Rhea Paul, 2007)

By 1 year of age your child should be able to:

• Recognise their own name when called
• Say “dad” “mum” and a few other familiar words
• Enjoy music and songs
• Respond to familiar sounds and voices
• Understand simple commands such as “no”
• Understand simple instructions, such as “clap hands”.

Should your child not be babbling by 10 months please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns

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Age 2

By 2 years of age your child should be able to:

• Name body parts
• Listen to stories
• Name pictures
• Able to use more than 50 words, putting 2 words together (“more juice”, “my ball”)
• Sing nursery rhymes
• Use pronouns “he”, “she”, “it”.
• Learn to turn pages in a book

Should your child be not putting 2 words together and/or not responding to language please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns.

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Age 3

By 3 years of age your child should be able to:

• Understand more complex instructions, such as “Go to your room and get your shoes”.
• Begin to use and understand basic “wh” questions such as “what’s that”, “where’s the ball”.
• Start to make short sentences, consisting of approximately 3 words (often with grammatical errors).
• Ask lots of questions
• Can be difficult to understand at times.
• Learn left to right progression of print in a book

Should your child show difficulty following instructions and/or still be using single words please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns.

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Age 4

By 4 years of age your child should be able to:

• Follow longer and complex instructions
• Have a wide vocabulary
• Use longer and more complex sentences
• Ask “why” questions
• Understand concepts such as hot/cold, big/small
• Should be understood by most people most of the time
• Tell long stories about events in their life
• Know colours and shapes
• Recognise and make rhyme

Should your child be showing difficulty understanding instructions, have limited vocabulary, only use short sentences and have difficulty being understood please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns.

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Age 5

By 5 years of age your child should be able to:

• Answer complex questions such as “how did that happen?
• Use more accurate grammar
• Display an increase in descriptive words in vocabulary, describing emotions.
• Begin to use more complicated sentences, with use of joining words such as “and” and “but”.
• Begin to display knowledge of letter sounds and names
• Demonstrate use of conjunctions, “if”, “so”, “because”.
• Make up stories in a picture book

Should your child be showing difficulty with grammar, have limited vocabulary, only use short sentences with no joining words and/or have difficulty being understood please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns.

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Age 6

By 6 years of age your child should be able to:

• Comprehend more complex language concepts, such as before and after
• Use language for different functions, such as narratives, explanations, negotiations and in social interactions
• Use well-formed and “adult like” sentences with few grammatical errors.

Should your child be showing difficulty understanding instructions, learning difficulties at school, continuing speech errors, difficulty being understood or poor grammar please consult your GP for assessment or contact Harmony Speech Pathology to discuss concerns.

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Articulation Milestone

(based on Kilminster and Laird, 1978)

Articulate the sounds M/N/P/NG (ring) /W/D/T/Y/B/G/K/ and /F/ at 3.5 years.
Articulate the sounds /L/SH/CH/ and /S/Z/J/ by 4.5 years
Articulate the sound /R/ by 5 years of age
Articulate the sounds, /V/ and consonant blends /SP/TR/FR/SK/BL/BR/PL/ by 6 years of age
By 8+ years you child should be able to use voiced and voiceless /TH/ “this” and “nothing”.

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Other Indicators

Other possible indicators that your child may require speech therapy include:

• Your child having a pitch that is too high or too low
• A hoarse or breath voice
• Stuttering, for example repeating sounds in word or the whole word, eye blinking when trying to speak
• Little or no eye contact
• Difficulty taking turns in conversation
• Speech too fast or too slow
• Often asking for speech to be repeated
• Impulsive behaviour

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