Communication Milestones: 13 to 18 Months

These communication milestones cover hearing, speech, and language development in children.

Each child develops uniquely, even within the same family, and may meet certain milestones earlier or later than others. If your child does not meet many of the milestones within their age range, visit ASHA ProFind to find an ASHA-certified audiologist or speech-language pathologist (SLP) for an assessment.

What should my child be able to do?

  • Looks around when asked “where” questions—like “Where’s your blanket?”26, 20
  • Follows directions—like “Give me the ball,” “Hug the teddy bear,” “Come here,” or “Show me your nose.”42, 6, 20
  • Points to make requests, to comment, or to get information.6
  • Shakes head for “no” and nods head for “yes.”6, 19
  • Understands and uses words for common objects, some actions, and people in their lives.42, 43, 17, 26, 20
  • Identifies one or more body parts.42, 43, 41, 39
  • Uses gestures when excited, like clapping or giving a high-five, or when being silly, like sticking out their tongue or making funny faces.6
  • Uses a combination of long strings of sounds, syllables, and real words with speech-like inflection.22, 42

What can I do to help?

  • Talk about sounds around your house. Listen to the clock tick, and say “t-t-t.” Make car or plane sounds, like “v-v-v-v.”
  • Play with sounds at bath time. Blow bubbles, and make the sound “b-b-b-b.” Pop bubbles, and make a “p-p-p-p” sound.
  • Talk to your child as you do things and go places. For example, when taking a walk, point to and name what you see. Say things like, “I see a dog. The dog says ‘woof.’ This is a big dog. This dog is brown.”
  • Give your child two-step directions, like “Get the ball and put it in the box.”
  • Use short words and sentences that your child can repeat. Add to words your child says. For example, if they say car, you can say, “You're right! That is a big red car.”
  • Tell stories or read to your child every day. Try to find books with large pictures and a few words on each page. Talk about the pictures on each page or things you see around you.
  • Have your child point to pictures, body parts, or objects that you name.
  • Ask your child to name pictures. They may not answer at first. Just name the pictures for them. One day, they will surprise you by telling you the name.
  • Talk to your child in the languages you are most comfortable using. If your family is multilingual, give your child many chances to hear and practice your languages daily. Learning multiple languages will not cause speech or language problems.

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