Developmental Milestones


Milestones to Expect from Birth-6 months:

  • Startles to loud sounds
  • Turns head toward sound source
  • Uses babbling for gaining attention and expressing demand
  • Establishes eye contact

Milestones to Expect from 6-12 months:

  • Responds to his or her name
  • Tries to communicate by actions and gestures
  • Laughs when playing with objects
  • Copies simple actions of others (ex. clapping hands)

Milestones to Expect from 1-2 years:

  • Follows simple directions
  • Waves bye-bye
  • Says “bye” and other social words, such as “hi,” “thank you,” and “please”
  • Engages in simple pretend play, such as talking on the telephone or reading a book

Milestones to Expect from 2-3 years:

  • Requests permissions for items or activities
  • Engages in longer dialogues
  • Begins to play house
  • Participates in simple group activities

Milestones to Expect from 3-4 years:

  • Takes turns and plays cooperatively
  • Expresses ideas and feelings
  • Frequently practices conversation skills by talking to self
  • Relates personal experiences through verbalization

Milestones to Expect from 4-5 years:

  • Follows three-step directions
  • Uses words to invite others to play
  • Retells simple stories
  • Recognizes letters and letter-sound matches

Milestones to Expect from 5-6 years:

  • Asks for meanings of words
  • Asks questions to gain information
  • Recognizes some words by sight
  • Prints own first and last name

For a more complete list of communication milestones, please visit:

School age

In order to succeed in school, form healthy relationships with friends and family members, and eventually enter the workforce as competent individuals, children need to become excellent communicators. Most importantly, children need you, their parents, to help them grow into effective communicators. The first few years of school set the foundation for later personal and academic success, and this includes the ability to successfully communicate. There are many ways you can ensure that your child will reach his or her communication milestones.

In early elementary grades (K-2):

  • Talk with your child frequently
  • Read a variety of books; read often and talk with your child about the story
  • Help your child focus on sound patterns of words such as those found in rhyming games
  • Have your child retell stories and talk about events of the day
  • Talk with your child during daily activities; give directions for your child to follow (ex. steps to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich)
  • Talk about how things in your environment are alike and different
  • Give your child reasons and opportunities to write (ex. ask your child to write about their favorite part of their weekend)

In later elementary grades (3-5):

  • Continue to encourage reading; find reading material that your child finds interesting
  • Encourage your child to form opinions about what he or she hears or reads (ex. Ask: How does that make you feel?) and find ways to relate what is read to personal experiences (ex. Ask: Can you think of a time when something like that happened to you?)
  • Talk aloud as you help your child understand and solve problems encountered in reading material
  • Help your child recognize spelling patterns, such as beginnings (i.e. prefixes) and endings (i.e. suffixes) of words (ex. pre- or -ment)
  • Encourage your child to write letters, keep a diary, or write stories using their imagination