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  • Victoria King Erb

Is Your Child Meeting Their Speech and Language Milestones? What You Need to Know: 10-12 months

What are the speech and language milestones for a child ages 10 to 12 months old? Below we will review the following: key vocabulary terms when discussing speech and language milestones, milestones expected in the age ranges 10 - 12 months, and examples or clarification for each milestone.

Key Terms:

Speech & Language Milestones: the speech, language, and hearing skills that most children (90%) will demonstrate by identified ages

Speech: how we say sounds and words - articulation, fluency, or voice

Language: the words we use and how we use them to share ideas and get what we want.

  • Receptive Language: the ability to understand/comprehend language (following directions, vocabulary, sentence comprehension)

  • Expressive Language: the ability to express self using language - by gestures, sign language, verbally, or a communication device (vocabulary, grammar)

  • Pragmatic Language: the use of appropriate communication in social situations

Speech and Language Milestones: 10-12 months old:

Hearing & Understanding (Receptive Language):

  • By age 10 months, your child reaches for objects. Caregivers can work on this skill by putting toys or books a little bit further than your child's reach. When they try to reach for something, you can name the toy or say "let's read!" and continue by reading the book they reached for.

  • Enjoys dancing. Playing repetitive nursery rhymes are great for language development! You can pair the song with dance moves and/or gestures to engage your child to move and play while learning new vocabulary!

  • Responds to simple words and phrases like “Go bye-bye” and “Look at Mommy.” It is important to model language in routine situations and provide repetitions of these phrases many times. Children benefit from repetition of books and routine language in order to understand and eventually use those phrases.

Talking/Gestures (Expressive Language):

  • Points, waves, and shows or gives objects. Caregivers can model BOTH words and gestures when communicating with their child. For example, you can name your pet dog AND point to him when saying "Look, it's Buster!"

  • Imitates and initiates gestures for engaging in social interactions and playing games, like blowing kisses or playing peek-a-boo.

  • Tries to copy sounds that you make. Caregivers can work on this skill by showing your child your face, bringing attention to your mouth and producing a variety of sounds. Remember to wait 10-15 seconds for your child to respond before modeling the sounds again.

  • By your child's first birthday, they should be using one or two words—like mama, dada, hi, and/or bye. This milestone is a big indicator if your child communication skills are developing appropriately. When a child is having difficulty with producing words or presents as a potential "late talker", this is a common time/age for referrals to be made to a speech-language pathologist for more support.

Check out our other parent resources and blogs about how to help enhance and grow your child's speech and language skills during these specific age ranges.

If you are concerned about your child's speech and language development - some of the next steps you can take include:

  • contacting your child's pediatrician (ask for a referral for a speech and language evaluation)

  • contacting your local regional center to see if your child could be assessed

  • contacting a local speech therapy private practice that specializes in early language development


ASHA. (n.d.). Communication milestones: Birth to 1 year. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 


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