It is well-recognized that the relationship between hearing and speech-language development is critical in the early years of a child’s life. Children learn speech sounds and how to use language by listening to the speaking habits of others.
Helping Children Learn Language:
Parents and caregivers are the most important teachers during a child’s early years. Even young babies notice when others repeat and respond to the noises and sounds they make. Children’s language and brain skills get stronger if they hear many different words.
Parents can help their child learn in many different ways, such as:
- Responding to the first sounds, gurgles, and gestures a baby makes.
- Repeating what the child says and adding to it.
- Talking about the things that a child sees.
- Asking questions and listening to the answers.
- Looking at or reading books.
- Telling stories.
- Singing songs and sharing rhymes.
Below is a checklist* to aid parents in determining if their child is meeting milestones when it comes to language and/or hearing disorders.
This checklist should be shared with your pediatrician and a speech and hearing professional.
|Birth to 3 Months|
|Reacts to loud sounds||Yes||No|
|Calms down or smiles when spoken to||Yes||No|
|Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying||Yes||No|
|Starts or stops sucking in response to sound when feeding||Yes||No|
|Coos and makes pleasure sounds||Yes||No|
|Has a special way of crying for different needs||Yes||No|
|Smiles when he or she sees you||Yes||No|
|4 to 6 Months|
|Follows sounds with his or her eyes||Yes||No|
|Responds to changes in the tone of your voice||Yes||No|
|Notices toys that make sounds||Yes||No|
|Pays attention to music||Yes||No|
|Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with “p, b, w, h, and m”||Yes||No|
|Babbles when excited or unhappy||Yes||No|
|Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you||Yes||No|
|7 Months to 1 Year|
|Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake||Yes||No|
|Turns and looks in the direction of sounds||Yes||No|
|Listens when spoken to||Yes||No|
|Understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”||Yes||No|
|Responds to requests (“Come here”)||Yes||No|
|Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (“tata, upup, bibibi”)||Yes||No|
|Babbles to get and keep attention||Yes||No|
|Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms||Yes||No|
|Imitates different speech sounds||Yes||No|
|Has one or two words (“Hi,” “dog,” “Dada,” or “Mama”) by first birthday||Yes||No|
|1 to 2 Years|
|Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked||Yes||No|
|Follows simple commands (“Roll the ball”) and understands simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”)||Yes||No|
|Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes||Yes||No|
|Points to pictures, when named, in books||Yes||No|
|Acquires new words on a regular basis||Yes||No|
|Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”)||Yes||No|
|Puts two words together (“More cookie”)||Yes||No|
|Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words||Yes||No|
|2 to 3 Years|
|Has a word for almost everything||Yes||No|
|Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things||Yes||No|
|Uses “k, g, f, t, d, and n” sounds||Yes||No|
|Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends||Yes||No|
|Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them||Yes||No|
|3 to 4 Years|
|Hears you when you call from another room||Yes||No|
|Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members||Yes||No|
|Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions||Yes||No|
|Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes||Yes||No|
|Uses sentences with four or more words||Yes||No|
|Speaks easily without repeating syllables or words||Yes||No|
|Is readily understood by strangers even in the presence of some sound errors||Yes||No|
|4 to 5 Years|
|Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it||Yes||No|
|Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school||Yes||No|
|Uses sentences that give many details||Yes||No|
|Tells stories that stay on topic||Yes||No|
|Communicates easily with other children and adults||Yes||No|
|Says most sounds correctly except for a few (“l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th”)||Yes||No|
|Uses rhyming words||Yes||No|
|Names some letters and numbers||Yes||No|
|Uses adult grammar||Yes||No|
*Checklist provided by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders