Speech and language development milestones relate to receptive
language (the ability to understand words and sounds) and expressive language
(the ability to use speech and gestures to communicate meaning).
A child's speech and language development becomes more advanced
beginning around age 3 through age 5. Receptive language skills during this
period become more sophisticated; a child learns to make subtle distinctions
between objects and relationships. Also, the child can understand
multi-step requests. Most children also gradually speak more fluently and use
proper grammar more consistently.
Speech and language milestones
Follow two-part requests, such as "put your
pajamas in the hamper and your slippers in the closet."
words quickly; know most common object names.
concept of "two."
Understand gender differences.
their own full name.
Begin correctly using plurals, pronouns,
and prepositions more consistently.
Frequently ask "why" and
Often use complete sentences of 3 to 4 words.
Know the names of
Understand the difference between things that are the same
and things that are different, such as the difference between children and
Can follow three-step instructions, such as "Go to the
sink, wash your hands, and dry them on the towel."
Use the past tense of
Use sentences of 5 to 6 words.
something that has happened to them or tell a short story.
speak clearly enough to be intelligible to strangers almost all of the
Understand relationships between objects,
such as "the girl who is playing ball" and "the boy who is jumping
Usually can carry on a conversation with
Often call people (or objects) by their
relationship to others, such as "Bobby's mom" instead of "Mrs.
Can define words such as "spoon" and "cat."
Shonkoff JP (2003). Language delay: Late talking to communication disorder. In CD Rudolph, AM Rudolph, eds.,Rudolph's Pediatrics, 21st ed., pp. 441–444. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
December 2, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 02, 2010
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