Communication Milestones for Babies and Toddlers

Along with growth spurts and motor skills, communication is one of the most recognized developmental milestones. A child’s communication skills are determined by their ability to use speech and language to express themselves and understand others. For these reasons, reaching specific communication milestones during the infant and toddler stages is a key indicator of growth and development.
Want to learn more about communication milestones for babies and toddlers? Just read on!

What Are Communication Milestones?

While every child grows and develops at their own pace, there are certain milestones that parents and caregivers can use as benchmarks for a child’s developmental process. Each communication milestone reflects how a child’s ability to hear, understand, and speak with others is progressing.
These are some of the most common communication milestones your child should demonstrate between the ages of 0 to 3 years:

Early Sounds: Birth to 5 months

  • Coos
  • Responds with noises when talked to
  • Expresses sounds of pleasure or displeasure by laughing, giggling, fussing, or crying 

Babbling: 6 to 11 months

  • Babbles and vocalizes “ma-ma” or “da-da” without meaning
  • Attempts repeating sounds
  • Communicates with actions or gestures
  • Verbalizes the first word

First Words: 12-17 months

  • Responds to questions with gestures
  • Attempts to verbalize simple words
  • Uses a small vocabulary of less than 10 words
  • Begins to label people and objects with a few mispronounced words

Small Vocabulary: 18 to 23 months

  • Makes animal sounds
  • Begins to combine words and use two-word phrases
  • Calls everyday items by name
  • Uses a vocabulary of approximately 20-50 words; their pronunciation may be unclear 

Simple Conversation: 2 to 3 years

  • Asks and answers simple questions
  • Pronunciation improves
  • Begins to use pronouns
  • Active vocabulary increases
  • Combines 2 to 3 words in a sentence 
  • Identifies colors
  • Recognizes simple descriptive concepts like “big” and “small”

Common Indicators of Communication Developmental Delays

Often, communication and language progression delays are the first signs of developmental delays. The early days are when parents and caregivers may notice that their child isn’t using common communicative skills.

Some of the early signs of a delay in communication milestones include:
  • Lack of purposeful gestures | While the child may move about, they don’t point or wave. 
  • Inability to imitate sounds | No verbalization or attempt to imitate sounds; instead, the child relies solely on gestures. 
  • Difficulty comprehending | Understanding verbal requests or simple instructions poses a challenge. 
  • Inability to verbalize simple words | The child does not express immediate needs or use simple words.  
  • Excessive difficulty articulating | Continuous mispronunciation that makes it difficult to understand what the child is saying. 
If you suspect your child may have a developmental delay, it’s best to consult your pediatrician or an experienced speech therapist to obtain a diagnosis.

How to Help Your Child Improve Their Communication Skills with Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is a specialized form of intervention provided by speech-language pathologists to address speech and language difficulties in children. Through structured sessions, speech therapy aims to improve communication skills by targeting speech production, vocabulary expansion, language comprehension, and social interaction. Speech-language pathologists employ various techniques to enhance a child’s communication abilities. Some commonly used methods include play-based activities and uniquely tailored speech exercises.
In addition to speech therapy, children with developmental delays can benefit significantly from early intervention services. If your child has missed some communication milestones, seeking help from a trained professional may be necessary. The sooner your child begins speech therapy and early intervention, the better.

Your Child Can Reach Their Communication Milestones with About Play

Are you worried your child isn’t meeting these communication milestones? About Play can help. When it comes to your child’s development, receiving the specialized care they deserve is paramount. Our dedicated team of early intervention specialists is an incredible resource for children and families. From early intervention services to individualized family plans, your child can thrive with the help of a trained professional. 

About Play is one of the top providers of early intervention in South Carolina. Our play-based programs are proven to help children learn, grow, and develop essential skills. If you’re concerned that your child has missed several communication milestones, contact our team to learn more about how we can help.

If you live in South Carolina and think your infant or child is experiencing developmental delays, we can help.

where do we offer early intervention services?

Our services are available for babies, toddlers, and their families in almost every county in South Carolina.

Click on your county to see the early interventionists available.