Speech and Language Development - Milestones
Speech Delay - Warning Signs
age - 4 to 5 years
follows 3 related directions such as "get your crayons, make a picture and give it
to the baby"
speaks sounds accurately except perhaps for l, r, s, k, th, ch, sh (The 'r',
'l', and 'y' (as in yellow) are difficult and can come as late
as 8 years old)
more reasoning - answers questions such as "What do you do when you are
sleepy/thirsty?" or "What should you do if you hurt yourself?"
describes objects and events
can show you "top", "bottom", and several colors
can give meanings of words
does your child not use complete sentences?
does your child stutter?
does your child not seem to be able to follow directions?
activities - 4 to 4 1/2 years old
Your child should be able to do the following:
Recognize colors. Play "I Spy" to help develop this concept. "I Spy
something in the room that is green", then let your child
"spy" something and you guess.
Distinguish with differences. Play a game while riding in the car. Which
one is heavier...a bird or a cow? Also do the
opposite...Which one is lighter...a mommy or a baby?
Should be able to repeat four digits. Say 3-4-2-5 and let your child
repeat that back. Then try four different digits and repeat,
A child should begin to learn opposites. Ask "Brother is a boy,
sister is a ?", "In daytime it is light, at night it is ?"
A child should begin to comprehend the senses. What do you do with
your eyes? your ears? your nose? etc.
Your child should be able to comprehend remote events. Ask them "What
do you do when you have lost something", "What do you do before you cross the street?", etc.
activities - 4 1/2 to 5 years old
Comprehends right and left. Ask your child to show their hands and then
place them on their head. Now ask which is the right hand?,
A child should be able to repeat taps or claps. Say "Can you do
this..." tap the table twice with your hand...tap four
times...tap three times, etc.
When shown a group of pictures your child should be able to identify them
by action..."Which one swims in water?", "Which one tells
Children at this age should be able to point to all major body
parts...head, arm, thumb, hand, knee, heel, chin, eyebrow,
little finger, elbow, wrist, ankle, etc. One fun way of
seeing if they understand the body parts is to play "Simon
Says". "Simon says raise your arms"..."Wave your hand" (if
your child waves then you can say "Oh Oh! Simon didn't
Your child should now be able to identify coins. When coins are laid
out in front of them, they should be able to point to the
nickel, penny, quarter, and dime.
A child should be able to name the common animals at this age. Sing
"Old MacDonald" to identify farm animals. Pretend you are
going to a zoo and ask what animals you might find there.
Activity suggestions are courtesy of Laura Renfroe Christiensen,
a Speech Pathologist working with children from birth to 18 months