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Ages & Stages

 red flags at any age

  • Hoarse or raspy voice

  • No eye contact

  • Different level of understanding, speaking, playing, or socializing, compared to same-age peers

  • Difficulty with chewing food or transitioning to new foods

  • Excessive drooling, or drooling past 18 months (other than due to new tooth eruption)

  • Severe stuttering, or stuttering for longer than 6 months


By 12 months

  • Has one to five consistent words. (Do not need to be perfectly articulated: “ba” instead of “ball”)

  • Makes babbling noises, such as “dadada”

  • Makes sounds when upset or happy, such as squealing or whining  

  • Responds to simple requests, such as “sit down”

  • Pays attention to speaking and music; recognizes words for common objects, like “bottle” or “shoes”

  • Uses gestures, such as waving goodbye, or reaching upward, to be picked up

  • Imitates sounds

By 2 years

  • Has a vocabulary of 50 to 300 words, and regularly adds new words

  • Uses a variety of sounds, such as (but  not limited to): b, p, m, n, h

  • Starting to put two words together, such as “big car” or “more milk”

  • Refers to him/herself by name

  • Points to body parts, when asked

  • Understands simple instructions, such as, “go get your shoes”

  • Can answer “where” and “what” questions, such as, “where’s the stroller?”

  • Can listen to a short book, or rhymes/finger plays

By 4 years

  • Has mastered sounds learned by age 3, and has developed the /d/ sound, and some consonant blends, such as /kw/ (for “queen”)

  • Uses pronouns correctly, such as I, you, me, we, they, him, her, he, she, we

  • Understands basic colour, shape, and family words

  • Speaks in several sentences in a row

  • Asks questions like “How?” and “Why?”

  • Starts rhyming

  • Starts to pay attention to print, like first letter in name

  • Can recognize common logos e.g. bananas on No Frills sign

  • Enjoys “reading” books to self or others

By 18 months

  • Has a vocabulary of 10 to 50 words (do not need to be perfectly articulated)  

  • Uses one or two words to express needs, such as “milk,” or “big cookie”

  • Asks for “more”

  • Can name several familiar items, on request.  If you ask, “what’s that,” pointing to a shoe,” your child says “shoe”

  • Plays appropriately with toys (pushing the toy truck, instead of banging it on the wall)

  • Will hand a toy to an adult, when s/he needs help playing

By 3 years

  • Has mastered sounds learned by age 2, plus (but not limited to): g, k, t, f

  • Uses two- to three-word sentences consistently, such as, “I go home”, or “want water.”

  • Can follow two- to three-step, unrelated instructions, such as, “go upstairs, and bring down your teddy bear”

  • Can count to three

  • Understands “Wh” questions, such as who, what, why, where, when

  • Asks questions like “Why?”

  • Understands simple concepts like big-little, stop-go

  • Can talk about experiences that happened earlier, such as “What did you eat at Grandma’s house?”

  • Listens to longer stories

  • Can be understood by most people, most of the time (does not need to have perfect articulation)

By 5 years

  • Has mastered all the earlier-developing sounds, plus: sh, ch, l, s, z, y, ng (“sing”), r (starting, may continue developing past this age and into Grade 1 or 2)

  • Can be understood by strangers

  • Understands sequences, such as first, next, then, last

  • Understands early time concepts, such as yesterday, tomorrow

  • Follows longer, 3-step instructions (or more), such as “get  your lunch, put it in your bin, and find a book to read”

  • Can follow classroom instructions

  • Names letters and numbers

  • Uses sentences with verbs

  • Is able to have a full conversation, and adjust speech depending on who they are speaking to. For example, uses shorter, simpler sentences for a young child, and longer, more complex sentences for an adult

By 6 years

  • Sounds that should be developed by this age: almost all, with the exception of “th” and “v”

  • Grammar is almost adult-like

  • Understands left and right, concept of opposites, same and different

  • Understands concepts of quantity, such as “three cookies”

  • Uses adjectives to describe objects, such as “huge elephant”

  • Recognizes some sight words

  • Can describe similarities, such as the fact that cats and dogs are similar because they both are pets, have four legs, and are furry

  • Can name and categorize items, such as listing 5 foods

  • Can print own name

  • Asks meanings of words, and asks questions to get information

  • Plays co-operatively with others

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