Speech by Age

Speech-Language Therapy Overview


What to look for in your child by age

Categories: receptive language, expressive language, speech production, play/social skills


6 months

Receptive: responds to “come here / want up / no”; recognizes families names

Expressive: initiating “talking” with others and attempts to interact

Social: responsive to family members and familiar people; smiling frequently

Play: engages with adults in play – happy and excited

Speech: babbling


9 months

Receptive: responds to own name by looking at person, daily routine directions, looks at familiar objects/people when named

Expressive: imitates variety of sounds, sing along, vocals to gain attention

Social: fear of strangers

Play: search for hidden objects, plays with objects (not just mouth/bang)

Speech: babbling – more sounds coming

Pre-Literacy: start introducing books now


12 months

Receptive: locates some named body parts, follows new 1-step directions in play

Expressive: vocalizes with intent frequently, some single words

Social: performs for attention

Play: imitates actions, shows objects to others

Speech: variety of speech sounds

Pre-Literacy: continue introducing books – should be able to sit and maintain attention for a couple minutes


15 months

Receptive: identifies more body parts, completes 2 requests with one object, locates named objects from a group of objects

Expressive: uses words to protest, uses words to ask for wants/needs, imitating many words, uses some real words in the midst of “gibberish” or jargon

Social: shows/points to/gives objects to others

Play: turn-taking

Speech: using more and more sound combinations

18 months

Receptive: understands lots of words and phrases

Expressive: uses words to protest; using lots of single words

Play: points to, shows, gives objects; engage with songs (hands, dance, feet); hands toy to adult for help; plays with two toys together (car in garage, stir with spoon in dish)


2 year

Receptive: understands action words in pictures; follows 2-step related directions

Expressive: putting 2 words together frequently; new words regularly

Play: chooses toys; uses toys appropriately; performs many related activities during play – variety of play


2 ½ year

Receptive: understands simple questions, understands location phrases

Expressive: 3- to 4-word phrases

Play: talks more during play around other children, shares toys, longer sequences of play



We want to continue collaborating families to help kids gain the skills they need to be functional and age-appropriate communicators.


More questions? Visit www.abcpediatrictherapy.com