Language Development Red Flags: Ages 0-36 Months
Have you ever wondered if your child is on track for “typical” language development? The following red flag checklist can help give you a general idea if your child is not following typical patterns of development. It is important to note that some children develop language a few months earlier or later than these general guidelines.
Red Flags for Language Development by 3-4 months:
- Child does not react to sudden noises
- Child does not turn head to sounds such as a bell or a rattle
- Child is not quieted by a caregivers voice
- Child does not seem to look at faces or objects- the baby should track items or people in her line of vision
- The baby seems unusually quiet, no cooing
- The baby as not developed “different” cries to signify different needs i.e. hungry, tired, distress, etc.
- The child has not developed a smile response to familiar caregiver
- The child does not use her voice to attract attention
Red Flags for Language Development by 14 months:
- Child does not follow simple directions such as, “give” or “come”
- Child does not seem to understand simple gestures of “hi” or “bye”
- Child does not have interest in simple books and simple pictures
- Baby does not seem to communicate other than crying
- Baby does not use simple gestures such as waving for bye-bye or hi, pointing, reaching, showing
- Child does not produce a variety of consonant or vowel sounds and/or does not produce sounds frequently
- Child does not use 2 to 8 words spontaneously
- Child does not communicate in a variety of ways such as facial expressions, eye gazing, or gestures
Red Flags for Language Development by 28-30 months:
- Child shows inconsistent response to words or directions
- Child needs repetition
- Chid gives inappropriate responses to simple ‘wh’ questions such as who is this? What is this?
- Child is not interested in simple stories
- Child seems to easily forget familiar routines
- Child becomes easily frustrated during communication exchanges
- Child mostly relies on yelling, grunting, or incoherent utterances for communication
- Words do not seem like adult words or may be part words i.e. “Da” for dog
- The child uses the same pseudo word or short syllable to represent many different things i.e. “ba” for boy, ball and baby
- Child is unable to name most familiar items
- Child has no clear “yes” or “no” response
- Child has less than 200 words and lacks steady vocabulary
- Child may have “lost” some speech
Red Flags for Language Development by 36 months:
- Is unable to follow more complex directions i.e., get your coat then go to the car
- Lacks interest in or does not remember simple and familiar stories, songs, nursery rhymes
- Does not understand the difference between who, what and where questions
- Is overly dependent on parents or siblings for communication
- Persists in babbling in place of adult speech “bibi” for baby
- Clarity of the child’s speech decreases as the child attempts longer utterances
- Is not speaking in sentences of three to four words
- Is not beginning to use simple grammar- articles, verb endings, plurals, pronouns
- Less than 800 words
- Is not easily picking up new vocabulary
If you believe your child meets the criteria of this red flag checklist for their age, please speak with a professional speech and language pathologist who can thoroughly evaluate their language development. As mentioned previously, children may develop a few months earlier or later than the time frames outlined by this checklist.
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NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!