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Speech and Language Milstones: Birth to 1 year old

April 12, 2016

Receptive Language (Hearing and Understanding)

Birth–3 Months

Startles to loud sounds
Quiets or smiles when spoken to
Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying
Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound

4–6 Months

Moves eyes in direction of sounds
Responds to changes in tone of your voice
Notices toys that make sounds
Pays attention to music

7 Months–1 Year

Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
Turns and looks in direction of sounds
Listens when spoken to
Recognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, “book”, or “juice”
Begins to respond to requests (e.g. “Come here” or “Want more?”)

Expressive Language (talking)

Birth–3 Months

Makes pleasure sounds (cooing, gooing)
Cries differently for different needs
Smiles when sees you

4–6 Months

Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b and m
Chuckles and laughs
Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you

7 Months–1 Year

Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata upup bibibibi”
Uses speech or noncrying sounds to get and keep attention
Uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
Imitates different speech sounds
Has one or two words (hi, dog, dada, mama) around first birthday, although sounds may not be clear

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