Communication Disorders


Children who are difficult to understand or have difficulty saying the sounds expected for their age may need help.


 AGE (years)               SOUNDS IN ERROR (circled)                  
 3.0 /m/ /p/ /w/
 3.5 /n/ /b/ /d/ /k/
 4.0 /g/
 4.5 /t/
 5.0 /y/
 5.5 /f/ /v/ /ch/ /th/ (voiceless)
 7.0 /sh/ /j/ /zh/
 8.0 /r/ /l/ /s/ /z/ /ng/ /th/ (voiced)


Children whose understanding or use of language is not at the expected level would qualify for services in the area.

How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?

Every child is unique and has an individual rate of development. This chart represents, on average, the age by which most children will accomplish the listed skills. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range. Just because your child has not accomplished one skill within an age range does not mean the child has a disorder. However, if you have answered no to the majority of items in an age range, seek the advice of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Use Find a Professional, ASHA's online directory of speech-language pathologists and audiologists to locate a practitioner near you.

Hearing and UnderstandingTalking

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.

Birth-3 Months


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

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.

4-6 Months


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

7 Months-1 Year


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

7 Months-1 Year


  • Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as "tata upup bibibibi."
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention.
  • Imitates different speech sounds.
  • Has 1 or 2 words (bye-bye, dada, mama) although they may not be clear.

1-2 Years


  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby," "Where's your shoe?").
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.

1-2 Years


  • Says more words every month.
  • Uses some 1-2 word questions ("Where kitty?" "Go bye-bye?" "What's that?").
  • Puts 2 words together ("more cookie," "no juice," "mommy book").
  • Uses many different consonant sounds of the beginning of words.

2-3 Years


  • Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop," "in-on," "big-little," "up-down").
  • Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table.").

2-3 Years


  • Has a word for almost everything.
  • Uses 2-3-word "sentences" to talk about and ask for things.
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.

3-4 Years


  • Hears you when call from another room.
  • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members.
  • Understands simple, "who?," "what?," "where?," "why?" questions.

3-4 Years


  • Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes.
  • People outside family usually understand child's speech.
  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.

4-5 Years


  • Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it.
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.

4-5 years


  • Voice sounds clear like other children's.
  • Uses sentences that give lots of details (e.g. "I like to read my books").
  • Tells stories that stick to topic.
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults.
  • Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th.
  • Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


Children whose rhythm of speech is disrupted, such as stutterers, can receive help in this area. Parents should be aware that children between the ages of two and six years often repeat words, syllables, and sounds. This is not considered stuttering but rather normal non-fluent speech. This often occurs because children are learning to put their thoughts into conversational speech. More information can be obtained from "The Stuttering Foundation" .


Children sometimes develop a hoarse voice, often because they abuse their voice by yelling, making noises, etcetera. They may need help to change their vocal habits and strengthen their voice.

Further Information

Any difficulties in these areas must effect the child educationally in some way in order to qualify them to receive Speech/Language services.

For more information regarding any of the following disorders or speech and language development, please see the information provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).