Little Leaps Group Therapy transitioning to year-round school: What you should know
March 28, 2017
Early Language Development
April 1, 2015
Hitting developmental milestones is the center of a child’s growth. Parents hold their breath in anticipation of the first word, first step, and first time on the potty, among a multitude of other things. So what happens when that milestone doesn’t happen at the exact time it should? Do you panic? Do you call the Doctor? Is something wrong? Do you order every book and DVD you can find to help? In short, the answer is no. However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t become a little more involved in the milestone you are waiting for. Communication and Motor milestones are two of the biggest areas that parents have awareness of. Motor development is often one of the first things parents begin looking out for. Gross motor skills such as sitting unassisted, crawling, pulling up, walking, running, and jumping are easily observable. The same goes for fine motor skills such as using a pincer grasp to feed, using a spoon and fork, or later on, gripping a pencil and scissors correctly. However, communication milestones? Not so much.
What you may not realize is that communicative intent begins shortly after birth. Differentiated cries between being hungry, wet, and tired, are all forms of communication. Cooing, smiling, and reacting to sounds in their environment, are just a few ways your child may be interacting with you at just weeks old. Communication becomes imperative for them to be functional in day to day living. Their coo’s and smiles turn into words and laughter and thus they get their wants and needs met. So, how do you know if they are meeting their milestones appropriately? Below are a few lists that may help you in determining this. Remember, that every child is different and exact ages may vary.
Developmental Language Milestones (Receptive), Birth To Five
Exhibits a startle response to loud sounds
Looks at speaker
Gets excited when shown a preferred toy
Turns head toward voices
Stops crying when hearing voices
Responds to name by turning head
Can tell difference between adult voice inflection
Begins to understand familiar words
Mommy, Daddy, bottle, etc.)
Responds to “No”
Stops playing when name is called
Knows name of a few common objects
Touches self in mirror
Gives up toy on request
Says and gestures “bye bye”
Follows simple verbal directions when accompanied by gesture (get ball, open)
Moves body in response to music
Follows commands without gesture
Begins to identify body parts
Understands more than 25 words
Looks at/touches pictures in book
Identifies/points to objects when asked
Responds to some question forms
Attends to pictures/identifies
Understands some personal pronouns
Understands up to 50 words
Understands some prepositions(in, on)
Begins to recognize colors
Can categorize items
Understands simple “wh” questions
Responds correctly to most questions
Understands between 5,000-10,000 words
Recognizes some alphabet letters
Follows 3 stage commands
Begins to understand word order
Developmental Language Milestones (Expressive), Birth To Five Years
Produces differentiated cries
Gurgles and Coos when played with
Produces 2 or more syllables
Smiles socially/vocalizes pleasure sounds
Produces early babble sounds(p,b,d,h,w)
Takes turns with sounds
Produces reduplicative babbling
Vocally responds to name(50% of time)
Vocalizes when seeing bottle
Produces more consonant sounds(t,n,d)
Shakes head for “no”
Says things like “uh oh”
Tries to imitate sounds and correct syllables
Produces 5-10 words
Uses voice and gesture to get things
Speech is 25% intelligible
Imitates animal noises
Produces 10-20 words
Names at least 1 picture in a book
Imitates 2-3 word sentences
Names some body parts
Uses question intonation
Uses 50-200 words by 24 months
65% of speech is intelligible
Uses 2-3 word combinations
Uses some pronouns(not necessarily correctly)
Produces 900-1200 words (3 yrs)
Uses multi word utterances
Asks what, where, who questions
Uses past tense incorrectly (i.e. goed)
Begins to use complex sentences
Uses 1500-1600 words(4 years)
Uses personal pronouns correctly
Produces 2100-2200 words(5 years
So, what happens if their milestones are starting to fall behind? As your child grows and interacts more and more, the opportunities for encouraging communication become endless. As mentioned, it isn’t necessary to panic. But, there are ways to help at home before seeking out other options. In a later post, we will look further in depth at resources and the next step for when you think your child is falling behind. In the meantime, here are some activities and important vocabulary to be sure you are incorporating in their day to day routines.
Give them options for food and drink items. Have them verbalize which they would prefer. In early talkers, at least make them point or approximate sounds for an item.
Use simple vocabulary such as eat, more, spoon, cup, plate, bite, and drink.
For toddlers, use simple and short phrases such as sit down, more please, all done, my spoon, my cup, etc.
For early talkers, use vocabulary such as tub, water, bubble, soap, wash, pop, in, out, wet
Toddler phrases may include bath time, in tub, wash hair, all done, in the cup, pop-pop-pop, all done, and get out.
Block Vocabulary: block, my turn, your turn, up, down, in out, more, please
Puzzles: Let them try and match on their own(this is early communication/learning vocab), have them point to/identify pieces of the puzzle, make the pieces come to life as characters.
Books: Have them point to vocabulary and imitate names of familiar items
Music: Sing songs. Have them fill in the blanks of songs such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little ______” and have them imitate motions
Turn Taking: Make sure they are taking turns completing tasks, if necessary. This can be done with any activities. It is also beneficial to say “my turn” and “your turn.”
Eye Contact: It is important for them to respond to you when you call their name. It is also important for them to be looking at you when you give them instruction.
Start talking to your child at birth. Even newborns benefit from being spoken to.
Respond to coos and babbling.
Play simple games such as peek-a-boo and patty-cake.
Listen to your child. Look at them when they talk to you. Give them time to respond.
Don’t try to force your child to speak.
Expand on what your child says.
Talk a lot to your child. Ask them lots of questions and answer them every time they speak. This acts as a reward for talking.
Don’t correct grammar mistakes. Instead, just model good grammar.
Let your child choose activities that are of interest to them