Afasic - what to look out for in babies and preschool children

Babies communicate from birth and begin to develop the skills that support listening, understanding and talking.

It helps to know how talking develops and even though children develop at different rates, there are key milestones to look out for.

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What range of skills should you be expecting at this stage of your baby/child’s development? You can check this below.

What to expect:

By 6 months old babies usually:

  • watch your face while you are talking
  • smile and laugh with you
  • make cooing and gurgling noises to themselves

By 1 year old babies usually:

  • try to get your attention and may point or shout for something
  • Make talking noises to join in the ‘conversation’
  • Start to understand words like ‘bye bye’, and things you say a lot
  • Look at you when you speak and he/she hears their name called

By 18 months old babies usually:

  • Say words that he/she hears a lot in their own way but consistently
  • Understand some simple words and phrases ‘where’s teddy?’
  • Point to familiar objects when you ask
  • Enjoy games like peek-a-boo and toys that make a noise
  • Start to enjoy simple pretend play like pretending to talk on the phone

By 2 years old toddlers usually:

  • Use more single words
  • Start to put words together into short sentences
  • Ask simple questions like ‘whats that?’
  • Understand simple questions
  • Understand many more words and points eg: in a book when you ask
  • Enjoy simple pretend play eg: cars, cooking

By 3 years old children usually:

  • Speak in sentences
  • Stop relying on pointing or single words to get what they want
  • Remember longer instructions
  • Understand ‘who’ ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions
  • Join in simple games and talk to others

Depending on your child’s age, watch out for:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Sometimes doesn’t seem to hear or pay attention when you talk
  • Not pointing at simple familiar objects
  • Understands and says fewer words than other children the same age
  • Not being able to understand anything or very little that your child says

If you are concerned about your baby or child’s developing communication, please talk to your Health Visitor, GP or speak to a speech and language therapist.

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