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Developmental Milestones

Reference points for your child

9-12 Months

  • Recognises and responds to their own name 

  • Understands simple commands (e.g. ‘No’) 

  • Understands the name of familiar objects or people 

  • Can make eye contact 

  • Can smile and babble 

  • Enjoys looking at books and listening to music and songs 

  • Says ‘Mama/Mummy’, ‘Dada/Daddy’ and a few other words 

  • Tries to make familiar sounds (e.g. car and animal noises) 

  • Understands to look when someone points to an object 

  • Understands common phrases/sayings used in the family 

  • Turns their head to search for a sound when they can’t see what is making it 

  • Anticipates what will happen next 

12-24 Months

  • Says the names of simple body parts (e.g. ‘feet’ and ‘nose’) 

  • Understands simple sentences (e.g. ‘Where is your shoe?’) 

  • Uses more than 50 words (e.g. ‘no’, ‘me, ‘more’) 

  • Sings simple songs (e.g. Row Row Row the Boat) 

  • Uses pronouns instead of names (e.g. ‘he/she’, ‘it’) 

  • Tries simple 2-3 word sentences (e.g. ‘no more’, ‘give me ball’) 

  • Understands ‘in’ and ‘on’ without cues (e.g. ‘Put the bottle on the table’) 

  • Non-family members can understand 50-75% of the child’s speech by 2 years of age 

3 Years

  • Understands describing words 

  • Answers ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions 

  • Understands how objects are used (e.g. You ride on a bike) 

  • Follows common and simple directions (e.g. ‘Give it to me.’) 

  • Answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No‘ questions 

  • Uses 3-4 word sentences 

  • Begins to use basic grammar 

  • Enjoys telling stories and asking questions 

  • Is understood by familiar adults 

  • People other than family members can understand 75-100% of the child’s speech by 3 years of age 

  • Has a favourite book and/or television program 

4 Years

  • Understands shape and colour names 

  • Understands some “time” words (e.g. ‘lunchtime’, ‘today’ and ‘winter’) 

  • Asks ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘why’ questions 

  • Uses lots of words, around 900, usually in 4-5 word sentences 

  • Uses correct grammar, with occasional mistakes (e.g. ‘I falled down’) 

  • Uses language when playing with other children 

  • Starts using simple joining words (e.g. and, then) 

  • Cam tell a story of 2 events in sequence (e.g. ‘I went to swimming then to the shops) 

  • Becoming very intelligible to others in conversations 

5 Years

  • Understand opposites, such as high/low 

  • Understands and answers ‘when’ questions 

  • Use sentences of about 6 words 

  • Talk about events that are happening, have happened or might happen 

  • Explains why something has happened 

  • Explains the function of objects 

  • Follows 3 part directions, e.g. stand up, get your shoes and wait by the door 

  • Says how they feel and tell you their ideas 

  • Becomes interested in reading, writing and numbers 

  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood by everyone 

6 Years

  • Understands ‘right’ from ‘left’ 

  • Uses sentences of 6 words with the correct grammar 

  • Understands the meaning of most sentences 

  • Starts using more complex joining words (e.g. but, because) 

  • All sentences are correct, and they use all irregular words (e.g. ‘drew’, ‘got’) 

  • Predicts the next sequence of events 

  • Can tell a 4-5 part story 

  • Understands more time words (e.g. ‘yesterday’, ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘before’) 

7-8 Years

  • Understands between 20,000 – 30,000 words 

  • Follows instructions to complete a task e.g. making their bed 

  • Can reason and verbally problem solve challenging situations 

  • Can recall and recount detailed events in order (e.g. what they did in the holidays)  

  • Begins to understand that words can have more than one meaning 

  • Begins to understand abstract language 

  • Uses adjectives, time and number concepts 

  • Begins to use complicated types of sentence structures 

  • Can cooperate and work with others 

  • Can read short chapter books independently 

9-10 Years

  • Can follow complex instructions without using visual support 

  • Can express and justify their own ideas and opinions 

  • Describes events, people and items around them in detail 

  • Begins to seek information from reading materials  

  • Uses appropriate language to agree and disagree with parents, adults and peers 

  • Begin to implement strategies to help them process information both verbally and visually 

11-12 Years

  • Uses increasingly complex vocabulary (e.g. synonyms) to present ideas and in discussions 

  • Begins to analyse and infer information from a written text 

  • Can identify the different between opinions and facts 

  • Can use age appropriate language to negotiate, present information and explain results to parents, teachers and peers 

  • Can listen to and recall information from longer recounts, discussions and written information 

  • Reads a variety of texts appropriate to their grade level  

  • Can write a variety of written texts appropriate for their grade level (e.g. short essays) 

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  • Phone: 0415 464 142