top of page

Language Milestones & Red Flags

3-6 months

  • Produces vowel sounds and cooing

  • Social smile, giggles, shows pleasure

  • Enjoys interactions with caregivers

  • Makes eye contact with people talking to them

  • Takes turns vocalizing

Red Flags Limited eye contact

No joyful interactions with caregiver


6-9 months

  • Beginning to understand phrases such as “want more?” & “come here”

  • Tries to imitate some actions and sounds

  • Babbles using repeated consonant-vowel syllable (mamama)

  • Vocalizes with eye contact to communicate

  • Responds to name and looks at family members when they’re named

Red Flags No consonant sounds/ babbling No back and forth interactions of sounds, smiles, facial expressions


9-12 months

  • Says first word

  • Babbling now consists of combining various vowels and consonants with rhythmic pattern

  • Points and uses gestures more purposefully to influence the behavior of others

  • Imitates actions, sounds, and dancing

  • Follows highly routine directions with cues

  • Understands 50 words and phrases including “no”

Red Flags No gestures Not responding to name No babbling No joint attention


12-15 months

  • Says about 10 words

  • Uses 10 or more gestures (shakes head “no,” waves, blows kiss, etc.)

  • Follows 1 step directions with prompts

  • Imitates sounds in play (animal sounds, environmental sounds

  • Answers “where” questions by looking toward an object/person or pointing in book

Red Flags No words Not following routine directions Uses gestures more than verbal attempts


15-18 months

  • Says 15-50 single words

  • Follows 1-step directions without gestures

  • Speech is ~25% intelligible

  • Points to common objects, body parts, and to what he/she wants

  • Answers yes/ no questions verbally or with nod/shake

Red Flags Says fewer than 10 words Unable to identify familiar vocabulary Not following routine directions


18-24 months

  • Says 200 words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, social phrases)

  • Understands 300 words

  • Follows 2 simple step directions

  • Speech is ~50% intelligible

  • Puts 2-3 words “more juice”

  • Uses words more than gestures to communicate

  • Verbally makes a choice when offered 2 options

Red Flags Says fewer than 50 words Does not follow 1 step directions Not combining 2 words together


24-30 months

  • Says 450 words

  • Follows more complex commands

  • Speaks in 2-3 word phrases most of the time

  • Asks and answers who, what, and where questions

  • Uses verb+ing and pronouns (I, me, my, mine, it)

Red Flags No back and forth conversational turn-taking

Says fewer than 100 words

Does not answer who, what, where questions

Does not combine 2 words together


30-36 months

  • Says nearly 1000 words

  • Speech is 75% intelligible

  • Asks and answers why questions

  • Speaks in 4-5 word sentences

  • Talks about events/objects not presetn

  • Uses more pronouns (he, she, we)

Red Flags Says fewer than 200 words

Not following 1-2 step directions

Does not speak in phrases

Sources: ASHA , Language Milestones, AKP Speech,

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page