A guideline to your babies hearing and language development

Birth to 3 Months

Reacts to loud sounds, calms down or smiles when spoken to, recognises your voice and calms down if crying. When feeding, starts or stops sucking. In response to sound, coos and makes pleasure sounds. Has a special way of crying for different needs and smiles when he or she sees you.

4 to 6 Months

Follows sounds with his or her eyes, responds to changes in the tone of your voice. Notices toys that make sounds. Pays attention to music, babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m. Laughs, babbles when excited or unhappy and makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you.

7 months to 1 year

Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. Turns and looks in the direction of sounds, listens when spoken to, understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”, responds to requests like “come here” or “want more?”. Babbles using long and short groups of sounds like “tata, bibibi”. Babbles to get and keep attention, communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms. Imitates different speech sounds and has 1 or 2 words e.g. “Hi,” “dog,” “dada,” or “mama” by first birthday.

1 to 2 years

Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked . Follows simple commands e.g. “roll the ball” and understands simple questions e.g. “Where’s your shoe?”. Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes, points to pictures, when named, in books. Acquires new words on a regular basis. Uses some 1 or 2 word questions e.g. “Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”. Puts 2 words together like “more cookie” or “no juice” and uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

2 to 3 years

Has a word for almost everything. Uses 2- or 3-word phrases to talk about and ask for things. Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds. Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends. Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them.

3 to 4 years

Hears you when you call from another room. Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members. Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions. Talks about activities at kindergarten, preschool, or friends’ homes. Uses sentences with 4 or more words and speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words.

4 to 5 years

Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it. Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school. Uses sentences that give many details. Tells stories that stay on topic. Communicates easily with other children and adults. Says most sounds correctly except for a few e.g. l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th. Uses rhyming words, names some letters and numbers and uses adult grammar.

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