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Language development: Speech milestones for babies
By the end of 18 months
By the end of 18 months, your child might:
- Point to an object or picture when it's named
- Recognize names of familiar people, objects and body parts
- Follow simple directions accompanied by gestures
- Say as many as eight to 10 words
By the end of 24 months
By the end of 24 months, your child might:
- Use simple phrases, such as "more milk"
- Ask one- to two-word questions, such as "Go bye-bye?"
- Follow simple commands without the help of gestures
- Speak at least 50 words
When to check with your child's doctor
Talk to your child's doctor if your child hasn't mastered most of the speech and language development milestones for his or her age or you're concerned about any aspect of your child's development. Speech delays occur for many reasons, including hearing loss and developmental disorders. Depending on the circumstances, your child's doctor might refer your child to a hearing specialist (audiologist) or a speech-language pathologist.
In the meantime, talk to your child about what you're doing and where you're going. Sing songs and read together. Teach your child to imitate actions, such as clapping, and to say animal sounds. Practice counting. Show your child that you're pleased when he or she speaks. Listen to your child's sounds and repeat them back to him or her. These steps can encourage your child's speech and language development.Previous page
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- Speech and language developmental milestones. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/speechandlanguage.aspx. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
- Birth to one year: What should my child be able to do? American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/01.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- One to two years: What should my child be able to do? American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/12.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Child speech and language. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ChildSandL.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2009:200.
- McInerny TK, et al. American Academy of Pediatrics Textbook of Pediatric Care. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009:354.
- Berkowitz CD. Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012. http://ebooks.aap.org/product/berkowitzs-pediatrics-primary-care-approach-4th-edition. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
- Duffy JR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 9, 2013.