Expressive Language Developmental Guidelines

By 3 Months, A Child Should:

  • Use differential cries
  • Coos and gurgle
  • Produce single syllables

By 6 Months, A Child Should:

  • Begin babbling
  • Use self-initiated vocal play
  • Repeat self produced sounds
  • Vocalize to people happiness and unhappiness
  • Use 12 different phonemes
  • Call for attention
  • Laugh, coo, and respond to adults entering room

By 12 Months, A Child Should:

  • Use 3 to 20 one-word phrases (Ex: momma, dada, bye-bye)
  • Love to vocalize during play using a variety of intonations
  • React to your voice (really knows your feelings)
  • Use 18 different phonemes
  • Stop and look when you call their name
  • Play “Peek-A-Boo”

By 18 Months, A Child Should:

  • Use at least 20 words and 21 different phonemes
  • Jargon and echolalia are present
  • Uses a lot gestures
  • Uses words such as “no, mine, more, up,” and expressions such as “ut-oh, what’s that, and all gone”

By 2 Years, A Child Should:

  • Use up to 270 one-word phrases and 25 different phonemes
  • Not using much jargon or echolalia
  • Averages 75 words per hour during free play
  • Talk in several two to three word phrases with speech intelligibility of at least 65%
  • Name common objects and pictures
  • Uses phrases such as “I want, go bye-bye, up daddy, and ball all gone”

By 3 Years , A Child Should:

  • Use 900 words in 3-4 word sentences
  • Average 175 words per hour
  • Ask and answer simple questions
  • Have speech intelligibility nearing 100%
  • Be able to tell a simple story and talk about past events
  • Use all vowels correctly
  • Begin sentences with “I” instead of “Me”
  • Use the following sounds consistently /p/, /b/, /m/, /h/, and /w/

By 4 Years , A Child Should:

  • Use up to 1500 words in many 5-6 word sentences
  • Average 400 words per hour
  • Be asking many questions in conversation
  • Be able to sing a song and recite a poem from memory
  • Be able to name primary colors, know some coins, and relate fanciful tales