Free Checklist: Speech skills for kids aged 0-7

Your son or daughter’s speech and language development begins before they say their first words. This helpful chart, shared by the speech therapists at Kids First in Sydney’s northern beaches, will help you determine if your child is reaching their speech and language developmental milestones.

Free Children's Speech Checklist

All children are different and the age at which they acquire speech and language skills often vary, however the order in which these developmental milestones are achieved is usually the same.

0-6 months
  • Responds to voices, sounds
  • Recognises voices, tones
  • Cries at different pitches to express different needs
  • Smiles
  • Coos
  • Produces ‘p’, ‘b’ and ‘m’ sounds in babbling
7-12 months
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Responds to his/her name
  • Understands “no” and common objects (e.g., cup)
  • Understands some simple commands
  • Uses more complex babbling
  • Uses speech intentionally
  • Uses more gestures to communicate
  • Produces first words
19-24 months
  • Understands additional simple commands
  • Points to one to three body parts
  • Makes more requests
  • Speech is unintelligible
  • Repeats more
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 5-20 words
2-3 years
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 words
  • Follows 2-step directions
  • Identifies more body parts
  • Requests objects by naming
  • Understands “one” and “all”
  • Knows at least three prepositions ( e.g., in, on, under)
  • Speech is 50%- 75% intelligible
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-250 words and more
  • Uses 2-4 word phrases
  • Uses pronouns : I, you, me correctly
  • Begins to use some plurals and past tense
3-4 years
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 1,200-2,000 words or more
  • Follows 2-3 step directions
  • Knows names of familiar animals
  • Knows one or more colours
  • Understands opposites (e.g., stop-go)
  • Starts to understand past v s. now
  • Speech is 80% intelligible
  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 800-1,500 words or more
  • Uses at least four prepositions
  • Produces 4-5 word sentences
  • Uses –am, are, is in sentences
  • Uses regular plurals, possessives and simple past tense verbs consistently
  • Uses some regular plurals, contractions, conjunctions , and future tense verbs
  •  Follows instructions in a group setting
4-5 years
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 10,000 words or more
  • Understands more special concepts
  • Understands short stories and can answer simple questions about them
  • Follows 3-step commands
  • Speech is intelligible to most strangers
  • Counts to ten by rote
  • Uses more descriptive words
  • States function of common objects
  • Produces 4-6 word sentences
  • Relates experiences at preschool, school, etc.
5-6 years
  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 13,000 words or more
  • Uses past and future tense appropriately
  • Uses conjunctions
  • Produces 5-7 word sentences
  • Uses more details in sentences
  • Retells a story
  • Counts to 30 by rote
  • Names days of the week
  • Asks “how” questions
  • Asks “how” questions
6-7 years
  • Has a receptive language of 20,000 words or more
  • Understands most concepts of time ( e.g., before, after)
  • Understands left  and right
  • Counts to 100 by rote
  • Understands terms such as: alike, different, beginning, end.
  • Is competent with simple reading and writing

When should you worry about your child?

If your child has a limited vocabulary for their age and a combination of two or more of the above risk factors, consulting a speech pathologist may be helpful.

International research has shown that children who have a risk factors such as

  • a family history of speech, language and literacy issues,
  • comprehension problems,
  • difficulties making themselves understood

are at greatest risk of having a continuing language delay [1].

So, instead of adopting a “wait and see” approach, we strongly recommend that you seek advice about your child as early as possible.

A paediatric speech pathologist is trained to identify children’s communication needs.

A simple consultation may relieve you of your worries if your child’s skills are tracking well, but if  that consultation picks problems up early, you will gain a valuable opportunity to help your child catch up with peers quickly and easily.

How speech therapy helps children with autism

Do issues resolve on their own?

The short answer is yes, it is possible for children’s communication challenges to resolve on their own – but only sometimes.

While some children’s speech, language and listening issues do resolve without intervention, studies are showing that this group of children usually have to work harder to achieve social and academic success do not perform as well as their peers in certain aspects of language, literacy and learning [3].

If your child is a ‘Late Talker’ contact Kids First to find out how we can help your son or daughter to avoid further language difficulties later on

Worried about your child’s speech?

Kids First Children’s Services in Sydney’s Northern Beaches has a team of health professionals who can help. Our paediatric Speech Pathologists are experienced in the support of children aged 0-12 and they can help your child too. 

Call us on (02) 9938 5419 or click on the image below to make an appointment with a member of our team

Call Kids First now - 9938 5419


  • Ellis, E. & Thal, D. (2008). Early Language Delay and Risk for Language Impairment. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 15: 93-100.
  • Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (2008, May 16). Mixed Results For Late-talking Toddlers. ScienceDaily. 16 May 2008. Web. 10 Jun. 2011.
  • Rice, M. L., Taylor, C. L., & Zubrick, S.R. (2008). Language outcomes of 7-year-old children with or without a history of late language emergence at 24 months. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51, 394-407.

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