Stages of normal speech development

With thanks to Fionnuala O’Driscoll, Speech and Language Therapist at Wood Street Specialist Children’s Services for the table below:

Age (years) 0-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5 5-6 6-7
Attention and Listening Distractible Single channelled Single channelled but flexible Shared attention Shared and integrated attention Able to focus for longer periods of time Can spend hours on chosen activity
Play and Social Interaction Exploratory, relational or constructive.Eye contact and turn taking from birth. Symbolic or pretend play.Turn taking in play from 18 months. Pretend and imaginary play.Plays with others in small groups. Role play.Cooperative play develops.May like simple jokes. Chooses own friends.Learn to turn take in conversation.Can discuss emotions. Able to play games by rules.Plans sequences of pretend events in play. Group play with less pretend play.Can play alone happily.
Understanding of Language Understands a few simple words (bye bye) Understands familiar words and phrases in context Follows simple instructions and later short stories Follows short stories and longer instructions Understands stories, longer instructions and conversations Understands 13,000 words.Beginning to reason and understand abstract concepts Understanding of vocabulary doubles in size.Understands abstract concepts. Can reason, predict, and infer.
Use of Language Cooing, babble, simple words First words and later 2 word phrases 2-3 word phrases – longer phrases Longer 4-5 word sentences usually well formed (4 yr) Well formed sentences combining up to 8 words.Tells simple sequence of events. Longer sentences with mostly appropriate grammar.Tells simple stories. Uses language for a range of purposes e.g. persuade, question, negotiate, discuss.Tells more complex stories.
Speech p, b, m, w and vowels n, t, dSpoken words not always recognizable. k, g, ng, h f, s, l, y sh, z, v, ch, th, r, clusters    May have difficulty with multisyllabic words (hospital) Generalising speech sounds to connected speech Generally mature by 7 years old

One thought on “Stages of normal speech development

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.