4 to 12 months old
Your child’s speech and language development depends on his or her ability to hear. A hearing loss can interrupt or delay the ability to communicate. All children, even newborns and young babies, can have their hearing tested. If you suspect a hearing problem, ask your doctor to refer your child to an audiologist. Seek prompt medical treatment if you suspect your child may have an ear infection.
At age 4 months, your child will...
- startle to a sudden sound
- look for the source of new sounds
- calm down to a soothing out-of-sight voice
- laugh, gurgle, coo with familiar people
- use his voice to get attention
By 8 months, your child will...
- turn his head toward sound
- widen his eyes to a loud sound
- enjoy noise toys
- babble to others
- frequently use syllables such as "ba," "da," "ka"
- produce four or more different sounds
By 12 months, your child will...
- turn quickly to his name
- use a variety of pitches in the voice
- listen, bounce or talk with music
- use jargon that sounds like real sentences
- play "peek-a-boo"
- imitate familiar words
- understand simple instructions
- recognize words as symbols for objects, i.e., say "meow" for cat, "brum, brum" for car
You can stimulate your infant’s speech and language by...
- responding to your child’s coos, gurgles and babbling
- talking to your child as you care for him or her throughout the day
- reading colorful books to your child every day
- keeping your speech rather simple and concrete
- reciting nursery rhymes and singing songs
- showing interest in all the different sounds you hear (ice clinking in a glass, doorbell ringing, rain falling)
- teaching your child the names of everyday items and familiar people
- playing simple games with your child such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
- playing simple music for your child
Provided for you by the Speech & Hearing Board of the Baptist Health Care Foundation and United Way Agency.