Understanding Milestones Ages 0-5

As our little ones develop, they have rapid periods of growth at different ages where key skills are established. Your child’s early childhood years are critical to their growth and development and set them up with good foundation skills to support them in their friendships, learning, communication, problem solving, physical abilities and emotional wellbeing.

One key area of development is communication. Here are a few critical skills that you will see:

Birth-12 months:
– Understands around 10 words, responds to their name, recognises familiar people and objects
– Start babbling around 6 months, and learn a few words, copy sounds and noises (e.g. animal sounds)
– Enjoys early turn taking games (peek-a-boo), smiles and squeals in response to others

1-2 years:
– Will follow simple commands (e.g. put it in the bin), understands up to 50 words, and shows interest in playing and interacting with others
– Closer to 2 years, children will point to many body parts and pictured items that are named, follow instructions with 2 parts, and use toys for their purpose (e.g. brush doll’s hair)
– Will say at least 50 words as they approach 2yrs and begin 2-word combinations

2-3 years:
– Children understand more questions by now (“what” “where” “who”)
– Developing knowledge of basic adjectives such as colour and size, and can identify objects that go together.
– Noticing feelings in others and themselves
– Sentences are up to 5 words long, and a variety of words are used (action, naming, location, describing words)
You should be hearing established sounds such as m, n, b, p, h, k, g, w, t, d, and newer ones such as s, f, ng in their words

3-4 years:
– Understands most ‘wh’ questions (what, who, where, when), can answer most questions about their day, and will share, take turns and play cooperatively
– Uses joining words, asks lots of questions, uses pronouns (e.g. he/she, me/you) and negatives (e.g.‘don’t/can’t)
– Some sounds are a little difficult still including s, sh, ch, j, th, z, l, r

4-5 years:
– Can follow 3 part instructions (e.g. get your hat, take an apple, wait at the door), and can understand them while doing another task
– Starts to recognise some letters, sounds, numbers
– Sentences are formed well, stories are simple but have a beginning, middle and end, and most speech sounds are accurate
– Plays cooperatively with their peers, and uses imaginary play

Red Flags:
– Early signs that may indicate that it’s worth looking into support and guidance from a friendly speech pathologist include:
*Children are not achieving their milestones
*None or limited facial expression, interaction, sharing enjoyment, eye contact from 9 months onwards
*Prefers to line toys up or throw/bang toys rather than playing with them how they are intended to be played with (from 2 years)
*No clear words by 18months, and not putting words together at 2 years
*Speech is difficult to understand at 3 and 4 years
*Poor interaction/unwillingness to interact with others
*Lack of response to sounds and visual information

**There may be times that you are not quite sure how your child is tracking, it is always helpful to seek advice and support if ever you are unsure. The SPOT Speech Language Pathologistsare always happy to discuss your concerns and answer questions, feel free to contact us today!

Bio: Lauren Jones

Originally from the USA, Lauren initially found her passion for working with children while spending holidays working at one of American’s premier summer camps. Lauren completed her studies in the USA before moving to South Australia with her partner. In 2018, Lauren and fellow SLP Director Eilis Melino opened the doors to SPOT Paediatrics with the aim of bringing a holistic therapy approach to families in the greater Adelaide area.

“We offer speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social programs for children of all ages. We are excited to be bringing two more team members on this year, and we will be moving to a larger facility come July in order to better serve our families!”

Sources: Adapted from Speech Pathology Australia and The American Speech Language and Hearing Association Developmental Milestones

SPOT Paediatrics