Park Slope Speech Therapy - Early Developmental Milestones for Language (part 2 of 2): Second Year

We finished the previous article on early developmental milestones for language at the age of approximately one year. Your baby has just begun to use a single word or two. How do you know it's a real word? Well, if you notice the same sound or set of sounds (like baba for bottle) consistently, then it is a word, even if it doesn't sound just like the adult pronunciation. And, you know what? Even if you're not sure, you might as well act as if your child did say a real word. If you give your baby her bottle when she says "baba", then she comes to realize that sounds have meaning and they get results! At this age, she will also look at familiar objects when you name them. She might also touch her nose or mouth when you ask her to.

While your baby is acquiring single words, you may also notice that he still uses sounds that have no meaning. For example, you might hear, "Ahgagabagacookie". This is called jargon; a series of sound combinations with true words interspersed. That's his way of showing you that he understands that one thing that we humans do is produce strings of sounds, with lots of expression, directed towards a listener. This behavior will continue until the ages of 18 to 24 months, as your child's vocabulary of true words continues to develop.

By the age of about 18 months, children can say an average of 25 to 50 single words. Right around this time, they will start to use word combinations. First, you'll hear two words together, such as, "no more" or "go bye-bye" or the ever popular "give me". Your child will also expand his repertoire of sounds. He'll also imitate words that you say including animal sounds.

Over the course of the next six months, your child will begin to combine three words, then four, and so on. It may seem as though he is learning new words every week. He may even point to a picture in a book and really pay attention when you read to him. As your child's language becomes more complex, you will also notice that his play will be noticeably more complex. He'll feed a baby doll, pour make-believe juice in a cup and then give the baby doll a drink.

The first two years of your baby's life are a time of tremendous growth and change. His vocalizations that began as cries are now true words and sentences.