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Bodymain Right

Stages of Language Development




Use of Language


18 months

Points to familiar and common objects on re quest
Understands  simple commands (e.g. Pick it up, fetch your shoes)

Uses at least 10 words meaningfully
Attempts imitation of  words and short phrases
Chatters nonsense to self with wide range of different sounds and intonations

Responds to other people e.g. answering questions

Very  variable at this stage
Very unclear

2 years

Shows body parts on request
Associates 2 nouns in a simple command (e.g. put the paper in the bin)

Spontaneous use of approx 50 words which can be understood by familiar adults

Starts conversations with others

Often not understood by unfamiliar adults
Single words more easily understood than attempts at sentences

2 1/5 years

 Understands simple short stories and conversations
Follows simple stories with  pictures

Combines 3 words
Begins to ask questions, use negatives and adjectives
Participates in  rhymes and songs

Carries on conversation for several turns
Responds to other peoples conversation



Reliant on context  to aid clarity
Developing most sounds in word initial position


3 years

Selects objects pictures in relation to verb (which one do we wear?)
Understands common prepositions (in, on, under, behind)

4 to 5 word sentences which are intelligible to most people
Using plurals and past tenses, not always correctly
Asking what, where, who questions


Speech much clearer but some sounds not developed e.g. sh, ch, th, r, l and blends e.g. sp, st, bl, gr etc.
Uses final consonants

4 years

Gives solutions to situations (what do you do when you are cold),
Identifies some colours, comparatives and superlatives (big, bigger, biggest)

Uses complete sentences
Asks ‘why’, ‘when’ and sometimes ‘how
Relates stories and simple sequences of events’

Enjoys jokes
Talks about own experiences
Assume adult  shares their knowledge 

Most consonants used correctly apart from ‘th’, ‘r’ and blends
Some difficulty with long words and consonant combinations

5 Years

Follows a simple story without pictures
Asks meaning of abstract words
Size, shape, colour, quantity and position words used as aids to reasoning and understanding

Mastering irregular nouns and verbs (mice, men, drank, say)


Speech fully intelligible and all sounds present

For information about Small Talk Speech & Language therapy, please go to www.private-speech-therapy.co.uk

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