Developmental Milestones


What are the developmental milestones of a typically developing child?

2-3 year olds:

  • say between 50 and 500 words, using more and more words every month
  • combine 2 or 3 words in simple sentences and questions (e.g., Mommy eat. What Daddy do?)
  • use the sounds t, d, m, n, p, b, w, and correctly; can be understood by most people half the time
  • follow 2-step directions (e.g., Get the ball and put it on the table.)
. . .

3-4 year olds:

  • say sentences and questions that are 4 to 5 words long
  • use the sounds k, g, f and correctly, and can be understood by most people 80% of the time
  • use words such as walked, walking, dogs, mom‘s, I, me, you, he, she, and, red, don’t, and is
  • speak smoothly with only occasional word repetitions (and no facial tension during repetitions)
. . .

4-5 year olds:

  • say sentences and questions that are 5 to 8 words long
  • use the sounds lsh, ch, and j correctly, and can be understood by most people most of the time
  • retell a familiar story or describe how to do something, with the main parts in the right order
  • ask and answer simple who, what, where, when, and why questions, using words (not just gestures)
. . .

5-6 year olds:

  • say most sounds correctly (th and r may still be developing)
  • understand complex directions, as well as concepts such as before, first, half empty, less, and a lot
  • can rhyme words and recite nursery rhymes
  • use mostly adult-like grammar, and communicate easily with other children and adults
. . .

6-7 year olds (Grade 1):

  • can tell a complete story with more than one character and a clear plot in the right order
  • understand the letter-sound relationships for sounds at the beginnings and ends of words
  • recognize about 200 words by sight and understand them in the context of sentences
  • correctly spell many simple one-syllable words (e.g., cat) and write complete sentences
. . .

7 year olds (Grade 2):

  • say all sounds correctly, including (with no lisp), th, and r
  • correctly spell many one- and two-syllable words (e.g.jump, jumping)
  • read many two- and three-syllable words, and use sentence context to identify new words
  • write simple stories and book reports, using correct grammar and descriptive words

– by H. Pass, R-SLP