Is My Child on Track? Milestones for the First Year

Every parent eagerly awaits for their child’s first words. Waiting for your child to find their voice (and maybe catch that first “mama” or “dada” on camera!) is an exciting time for any parent. However, your child starts developing their communication skills long before that first word appears. Communication skills developed in the first year of life are essential to speech and language development.

Each child develops according to his or her own timeline, but there are some general milestones you can keep an eye out for to make sure your child is on track.

Birth to 3 months

  • Understanding: In response to different sounds, a child might startle, change their sucking pattern when feeding, and quiet down or smile when spoken to
  • Speaking: Your child should be making pleasure sounds (like cooing), and is likely using different cries for different needs.

4-6 months

  • Understanding: Looks in the direction of sounds, focuses on toys that make sound or music, responds to changes in your tone of voice.
  • Speaking: Begins to babble (using sounds like p, b, and m), gurgle and laugh. Vocalizes when excited or upset.

7 months to one year

  • Understanding: Focuses on you and listens when you speak. Recognizes basic, common words like “milk” or “ball”. Responds to simple, one-step directions and questions like, “come here” or “want more?”.
  • Speaking: Babbling becomes more varied and complicated, and uses vocalizations to get attention. Uses non-verbal communication (waving, holding arms up to be picked up). Around one year, begins to produce simple, single words.

Want to learn more? Take a look at the following video from Speech Associates of NY founder and president, Jayne Latz:



If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2016, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved





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