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Key stages in your child's speech development

Useful information on the key stages in your child's development of speech, language and communication skills from seven days to four years old.
Key stages in your child's speech development:
  • At only seven days old, your baby can distinguish her mother's voice from another woman's voice.
  • Your baby's first attempts to communicate her needs and emotions are through crying. Parents quickly learn how to differentiate a hunger cry from a tired cry or crying about a wet nappy.
  • At two weeks old your baby can distinguish her father's voice from another man's voice.
  • At three months your baby will turn her head towards voices, she may stop crying when her parent's speak with her. She will repeat sounds such as cooing and can even make vowel sounds.
  • At four to six months your baby will notice new sounds such as the telephone or washing machine. She will respond to "no" and to changes in the tone of your voice. Early sound discrimination skills are beginning to emerge. Sounds have a more speech like sound to them e.g.mamama. When playing alone or with parents your baby will make gurgling sounds. She will now pay attention to music. Your baby can also tell you by sound or gesture when she wants something.
  • At six months your baby can make a few consonant sounds adding to her vowel sounds, and may say 'dada' or 'mama,' but cannot yet attach them to individuals.
  • At seven months to one year your baby is beginning to turn her head or look up when her name is used. Your child will listens when spoken to. She can recognise common words such as juice or bottle, and can respond to requests like 'Come here'. Your baby will more frequently use speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention.


  • At one year old your child will attach "mama" or "dada" to the right person. Your child can now also respond to one step commands such as 'stop that'.
  • At fifteen months your child may continue to string vowel and consonant sounds together, but may include real words within the gibberish. She may be able to say as many as ten different words.
  • At eighteen months, your toddler can say nouns (ball, cup), names of special people, and a few action words. Your toddler should now be able to follow a two-step command 'Go to the kitchen and get your juice'.
  • At two years old your child can combine words, forming simple sentences like 'Mummy sit.'


  • At three years old your child can use two to four word sentences, follow simple instructions, and often repeat words she overhears in conversations.
  • At four years old your child can understand most sentences, understands physical relationships, on, in, under, uses sentences that are four or five words long, can say her name, age, and sex, and use pronouns. Strangers can now understand your child's spoken language.

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i am a student in childcare and have to say this site is realy helpful to me as a student and a mother thanks guys
by sassyb3 30th Sep 2008, 8:50am

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