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Angela Nelson received her BA and JD from UCLA where she studied and practiced behavior psychology under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, and her Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a focus on technology innovation and education. As Founder and CEO of Stages Learning Materials, Angela has created autism, special needs and early childhood curriculum products since 1997. In addition to her duties at Stages, Angela writes for multiple industry publications and does development consultation for CS4Ed Consulting Services for Education.
How many professionals have been asked: “How do I know if my child is behind in language development?” How many parents have asked the question, or at least wondered to themselves?
Language development varies from child to child, and there are wide ranges of expected “normal” language development in young children. If you are using Stages Learning Materials products with your own child, and you are concerned about language development, you should definitely discuss this with your health care professional. However, for reference sake, in general:
By the age of one, a child is expected to achieve the following general language milestones:
- Respond to the speech of others verbally or through facial expressions or other simple gestures such as shaking the head up and down for “yes”
- Pay attention to speech of others
- Respond to simple verbal requests including the word “no”
- Babble with inflection
- Attempt to imitate speech of others
- Use simple works such as “dada”, “mama” and simple exclamations such as “oh-oh!”
- Use exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
By the age of two, a child is expected to achieve the following general language milestones:
- Follow simple commands or instructions
- Point to an object or picture when it is named for her
- Recognize names of familiar objects, body parts and familiar faces
- Repeat words overheard in the conversation of others
- Say several single words and simple phrases by 15-18 months
- Use simple phrases and 2-4 word sentences by 18-24 months
By the three-four years of age, a child is expected to achieve the following general language milestones:
- Understand the concept of “same” and “different”
- Speaks in sentences of five to six words with an understanding of simple grammar
- Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
- Tell stories
Again, it is important to realize that all children are different, and develop at their own pace, but if you feel that your child is falling significantly behind, it may be a good idea to consult your pediatrician, speech therapist, or other child development professional to discuss a strategy to help your child reach language development milestones.
--- Adapted from an article written by Dr. Jen Canter, pediatrician and inventor of the U-Play
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