Carol Krakower, M.A. CCC-SLP

Brook 35 Park

2130 Highway 35, Suite 311

Sea Girt, NJ 08750

Serving Monmouth County and Ocean County





Every child develops differently, but the following milestones can help you determine whether your child is gaining speech and language skills at an appropriate level for his or her age. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age range. 


Your One-Year-Old

  • Speaks in single words.
  • Uses intonation to ask a yes/no question.i.e. Baby?  means “Can baby have it?
  • Responds to “no”
  • Responds to his name
  • Points to learn new vocabulary
  • Tries to “talk” to a listener
  • Tries to communicate with actions and gestures
  • Plays pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo games
  • Uses at least 2 to 6 words other than mama and dada
  • Recognizes words for common objects
  • Begins to respond to simple requests, such as “sit here”

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Your Two-Year-Old

  • Strangers understand at least 50% of what your child says.
  • Uses limited wh-questions.  What dat?
  • Follows simple directions, especially with a gesture cue
  • Repeats actions that made someone laugh
  • Plays next to, but not yet with, another child
  • Refers to self by name
  • Protests by vocalizing “no”
  • Engages in simple pretend play, such as talking on the telephone
  • Says “bye” and other social words, such as “hi” “thank you” and “please”
  • Talks to self during play
  • Imitates adults
  • Understands another
  • Uses simple directional terms, such as up and down
  • Uses two or three prepositions, such as on, in or under
  • Uses 200-300 words
  • Looks in the appropriate place when asked a simple question, such as “Where is Daddy?”
  • Chooses an object when asked about a choice of two, such as “Do you want milk or juice?”
  • Answers where questions such as “Where is the ball?” by pointing to the pictured item in a book.
  • Answers “What’s this?” questions about familiar objects or pictures, such as cookie or baby
  • Answers yes/no questions, possibly with a head nod or shake
  • Understands simple questions, such as “Where’s Daddy?”
  • Points to named pictures in a book
  • Listens to simple stories

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Your Three-Year-Old:


  • Strangers can understand 75% of what your child says.
  • Uses the pronouns my, me, mine, you, your, she, he, yours, we
  • Uses the plural “s”


  • Watches other children and briefly joins in play
  • Requests permission for items and activities
  • When the listener doesn’t understand, tries to explain another way
  • Participates in simple group activities
  • Defends own possessions
  • Carries on “conversations” with self and dolls
  • Engages in simple make-believe activities
  • Holds up fingers to tell age
  • Looks for missing toys
  • Helps put things away
  • Distinguishes between in and under, one and many
  • Understands the number concepts one and two
  • Understands size differences, such as big/little
  • Understands in, off, under, out of, together, away from
  • Begins to understand time concepts of soon, later, wait
  • Selects three that are the same from a set of four objects
  • Selects the object that is not the same from four objects with three of them identical
  • Begins to use words for color and size


  • Uses over 1,000 words

Answering Questions:

  • Answers critical thinking questions, such as “What do you do when you are cold?”
  • Answers questions such as “Where is…?”  “What’s that?”  “What’s ….doing?”  “Who is..?”
  • Answers and understands “Can you….?” Questions.

Asking Questions:

  • Asks where, what, what’s he doing questions

Listening Skills:

  • Responds to commands involving body parts, such as “Show me your belly”
  • Follows two-step directions, such as “Get your shoes and bring them here”
  • Follows directions that include action + adverb or action + adjective, such as “walk slowly” or “give me the red ball”
  • Recognizes family labels, such as baby, grandpa

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Your Four-Year-Old


  • Strangers should understand 75% of what you child says.
  • Uses the pronouns they, us, hers, his, them, her, its, our, him, myself, yourself, ours, their, they.
  • Says simple sentences. 
  • Uses up and down.

Pragmatic Language:

  • Follows two-step directions without cues
  • Takes turns and plays cooperatively
  • Can tell someone about things that happened to him/her.
  • Frequently practices conversation skills by talking to himself
  • Begins dramatic play, acting out whole scenes
  • Shows frustration if not understood


  • Follows quantity directions: empty, a lot
  • Follows equality directions: same, both
  • Understands next to, besides, between
  • Identifies colors
  • Points to object that is different from others
  • Uses position concepts behind, in front of, around

Answering Questions:

  • Answers “If…what?” questions, such as “If it starts raining, what would you do?”
  • Answers questions about functions of objects, such as “What are spoons for?” or “Why do we have shoes?”
  • Answers “when” questions
  • Answers “how many” questions (in which the answer does not exceed four)

Asking Questions:

  • Asks one word “why” questions.
  • Uses what, where, when, how and whose when asking questions.
  • Inverts auxiliary and subject in wh- questions, such as “Where is Daddy going?”
  • Asks “Do you want to….”
  • Asks future questions: “Are we going to…?”
  • Asks, “Can you…?”

Listening Skills:

  • Attends to name being called from another room
  • Understands most simple questions pertaining to her activities and environment

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Your Five-Year Old


  • Speech is completely intelligible, in spite of articulation problems
  • On the whole, speaks in grammatically correct forms.
  • Can repeat sentences of up to nine words.
  • Uses the pronouns herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves


  • Uses requests with justification i.e. “stop that.  You’re hurting me.”
  • Uses words to invite others to play
  • Uses language to resolve disputes with peers
  • Plays competitive exercise games
  • Speaks of imaginary conditions, such as “what if…”  and “I hope…”


  • Understands story sequence
  • Knows many letter names


  • Understands comparative and superlative adjectives, such as big, bigger, biggest
  • Understands time concepts yesterday, today, tomorrow, first, then, next, days of the week, last week, next week
  • Understands different, nearest, through, thin, whole
  • Identifies first, middle, last

Listening Skills:

  • Can follow a three-step command without interruption
  • Attends to a short story and answers simple questions about it.
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.
  • Repeats four digits when they are given slowly
  • Readily follows simple commands involving remote objects

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Speech-Language Pathologists