This page is all about 1 year old speech and language skills. Keep in mind that these milestones are based on research about typically-developing children but this information is not meant to diagnose a speech-language delay or disorder. There is a wide range of “normal” and even if your child is slightly delayed in a few of these areas, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has a speech or language delay. Please contact a speech-language pathologist for a screening if you are concerned about your child’s speech and language skills. All norms are taken from the Liguisystems Guide to Communication Milestones which sites the specific resources and research articles used to find each milestone. Here are some things that your 12-month-old should be doing:
Speech Sound Development
- Begins variegated babbling. This means the child is putting together different non-sense syllables (consonant-vowel) together, like “buh duh gah”.
- Has adult-like tone of voice. This means that although they aren’t using real words, their pitch rises and falls as if they are asking a question or making an exclamation.
- Uses a variety of vowels and consonants while babbling.
Social Language/Interaction Skills
- Responds to no
- Responds to his/her own name
- Points at things as if to ask what it is called
- Coos, squeals, and shouts for attention
- Laughs at times
- Tries to communicate with others through actions and gestures
- Smiles at self in mirror
- Plays pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo type games
- Copies simple actions of others
- Likes to chew and pat books
- Can focus on large and bright pictures in a book
- Shares books with an adult as routine part of life
Your 1-year-old should be able to understand quite a few words by now. This means that if you mention a familiar object or person, your child will point to it or look at it. For example, if you say “Where’s Daddy?”, she should be able to find Daddy in the room by looking for him. Around 12 months of age is typically when we hear children saying their first word. However, some children say their first word a few months before that and some a few months after. If your child has still not spoken his first word by 16 months, you may want to talk to your child’s pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist. Children are typically able to use sign language to communicate a single word earlier than they can speak it. Children have been known to use simple signs as early as 9-months of age! If your child is not yet speaking any words, try looking up and exploring some signs to use with your child.
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- Responds to sound when a source is not visible
- Responds physically to music (like dancing!)
- Stops an activity when his/her name is called
- Recognizes words for common items
- Begins to respond to simple requests, such as “sit here”
1 Year Old Speech and Language Skills Red Flags
If your child consistently exhibits these red flags, you may want to discuss them with your pediatrician or speech-language pathologist:
- Does not point to objects
- Does not use gestures such as waving or shaking head
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