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Before the first word-birth to 1 year speech development

Before your child ever produces their first word, there are other prelinguistic skills that your child is learning and doing in order to prepare them to say words! Being aware of these skills and the progression of prelinguistic speech can help you be aware of your child's speech development as a whole.

Birth to 1-month old: At this time, your child is relying on a lot of reflexes to get through their days and speech is no different. During the first month of their life, your child should move from reflexive vocalizations and begin to use non reflexive sounds!

  • Reflexive vocalizations: crying, burping, coughing, sneezing

  • Nonreflexive vocalizations: may begin to play with nasalic n, m, and ng

2-3 months old: During this time your child will begin to play more with nonreflexive vocalizations and simple syllables!

  • back vowels (ah, uh, eh, etc)

  • back consonants (k, g, ng)

  • consonant-vowel (CV) and vowel-consonant (VC) with back vowels and back consonants

4-6 months old: This is the time period where your child will begin to engage in more vocal play and will begin to use their voice in louder ways to hear their own voice!

  • squealing, yelling, growling, raspberries, and trilling

  • may begin to add bilabial sounds (p, b, m)

  • vocalizations will vary from day to day

  • babbling becomes more regularly

7-9 months old: During this time, your child will grow their speech sound repertoire and begin to use more consistent babbling!

  • will begin using more adult-like timing with babbles

  • babbling will become more lengthy (babababa)

  • consonants to include p, t, k, b, d, g, w, y, m, n, ng

  • vowels increase in complexity

10-12 months old: At this time, your child will begin to use more complicated sound combinations and babbling will begin to sound more word like

  • will begin to use multiple consonant sounds in babbling such as "mabada"

  • begins to use adult-like prosody and intonation to infer questioning or exclamation

12 months old: First words! Around this time is when your child *should* produce their very first meaningful word!


If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's speech development, reach out to a speech language pathologist to help evaluate and guide any treatment to determine if there is a delay present!

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