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Communication check list

For Children from Birth to Age 4

If the answer to any of the following questions is NO, call Lansdowne Children Centers at 519-753-3153 ext. 249 or fax 519-753- 5927 to refer your child for a speech assessment.

By 6 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Turn to the source of sound?
  • Startle in response to sudden, loud noises?
  • Make different cries for different needs? (For example,“I’m hungry” or “I’m tired.”)
  • Watch your face as you talk?
  • Smile and laugh in response to your smiles and laughs?
  • Imitate coughs or other sounds? (For example, “ah,” “eh,”“buh.”)

By 9 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Respond to his/her name?
  • Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door?
  • Understand being told “no?”
  • Get what he/she wants through gestures? (For example, reaching to be picked up.)
  • Play social games with you? (For example, peek-a-boo.)
  • Enjoy being around people?
  • Babble and repeat sounds? (For example, “babababa,” “duhduhduh.”)

By 12 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Follow simple one-step directions? (For example, “Sit down.”)
  • Look across the room to something you point to?
  • Consistently uses three to five words?
  • Use gestures to communicate? (For example, waves “bye bye,” shakes head “no.”)
  • Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes?
  • Bring you toys to show you?
  • “Perform” for attention and praise?
  • Combine lots of sounds as though talking? (For example, “abada baduh abee.”)
  • Show interest in simple picture books?

By 18 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Understand the concepts of “in and out,”“off and on?”
  • Point to several body parts when asked?
  • Use at least 20 words consistently?
  • Respond with words or gestures to simple questions? (For example,“Where’s teddy?” or “What’s that?”)
  • Demonstrate some pretend play with toys? (For example, gives teddy a drink or pretends a bowl is a hat.)
  • Make at least four different consonant sounds? (For example, p, b, m, n, d, g, w, h.)
  • Enjoy being read to and looking at simple books with you?
  • Point to pictures using one finger?

By 24 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Follow two-step directions? (For example, “Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.”)
  • Use 100 to 150 words?
  • Use at least two pronouns? (For example,“you,” “me,” “mine.”)
  • Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases? (For example,“daddy hat,” “truck go down.”)
  • Enjoy being with other children?
  • Offer toys to peers and imitate other children’s actions and words?
  • Speak in a way that people can understand his/her words 50% to 60% of the time?
  • Form words and sounds easily and effortlessly?
  • Hold books the right way up and turn the pages?
  • “Read” to stuffed animals or toys?
  • Scribble with crayons?

By 30 Months

Does the child . . .

  • Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little, a lot, more)?
  • Use some adult grammar? (For example,“two cookies,” “bird flying,” “I jumped.”)
  • Use more than 350 words?
  • Use action words? (For example, run, spill, fall.)
  • Take short turns with other children, using both toys and words?
  • Show concern when another child is hurt or sad?
  • Combine several actions in play? (For example, feed a doll, then put her to sleep; put blocks in a train, then drive the train and drop off the blocks.)
  • Put sounds at the start of most words?
  • Produce words with two or more syllables or beats? (For example,“ba-na-na,”“com-pu-ter,”“a-pple.”)
  • Recognize familiar logos and signs? (For example, McDonald’s golden arches, stop signs.)
  • Remember and understand familiar stories?

By 3 Years

Does the child . . .

  • Understand “who,” “what,” “where” and “why” questions?
  • Create long sentences, using five to eight words?
  • Talk about past events? (For example, trip to grandparents’ house, day at childcare.)
  • Tell simple stories?
  • Show affection for his/her favourite playmates?
  • Engage in multi-step pretend play? (For example, cooking a meal, repairing a car.)
  • Have a beginning interest in rhyming? Is he/she aware of rhyming?

Is the child . . .

  • Understood by most people outside of the family, most of the time?
  • Aware of the function of print? (For example, in menus, lists or signs.)

By 4 Years

Does the child . . .

  • Follow directions involving three or more steps? (For example,“First get some paper, then draw a picture, last give it to mom.”)
  • Use adult-type grammar?
  • Tell stories with a clear beginning, middle and end?
  • Talk to try to solve problems with adults and other children?
  • Demonstrate increasingly complex imaginative play?
  • Match some letters with his/her sounds? (For example,“Letter T says ‘tuh.’”)

Is the child . .

  • Understood by strangers almost all of the time?
  • Able to generate simple rhymes? (For example,“cat-bat.”)

Please keep this Checklist for your own records. If you answered NO to the questions, then you can refer any child for a Speech Assessment . . .

  • If you are concerned about his/her speech/language/hearing development.
  • If her/his speech and language skills have not improved over the past six months.
  • Who often repeats sounds and/or words (stuttering).
  • Whose voice sounds different/odd to you.
  • Whose play or social interaction seems inappropriate.
  • With a diagnosis such as cleft lip/palate, hearing loss, PDD/autism, developmental delay (who is not receiving services).

Don’t wait, it’s never too early to get help!

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit no longer provides the Preschool Speech and Language program. If you require these services, please contact Lansdowne Children Centers at 519-753-3153 ext. 249 or fax 519-753- 5927

Source: Government of Ontario

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