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  • Victoria King Erb

Is Your Child Meeting Their Speech and Language Milestones? What You Need to Know: 19 - 24 months old

What are the speech and language milestones for a child ages 19 to 24 months old? Below we will review the following: key vocabulary terms when discussing speech and language milestones, milestones expected in the age ranges 19 - 24 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: 19- 24 months old:

Understanding (Receptive Language):

  • Understands at least 50 different words for food, toys, animals, and body parts. Your child is beginning to understand a variety of familiar words. Continue to work on this skill by reading books at home or labeling things that you see during your daily routines (i.e. bedtime routine), errands (i.e. grocery store), community areas (i.e. park), etc.

  • Follows two-step directions—like “Get the spoon, and put it on the table.” If your child doesn't understand your two-step direction the first time, you can help support them by using gestures/pointing or repeating your directions.

Talking/Gestures (Expressive Language):

  • Uses at least 50 different words for food, toys, animals, and body parts. You child's speech may not always be clear—like du for “shoe” or dah for “dog.” Caregivers should continue to model words during daily routines and activities. When your child uses a word, work on expanding on their utterance. For example, if they say "dah" for "dog" you can say "big dog!" or "It's a dog!"

  • Uses words like me, mine, and you. When looking in the mirror with your child, you can practice using these words while pointing at the correct person/item. This is "you" or "me" or this shirt is "mine".

  • Uses words to ask for help. When your child gestures or shows that they need help with something, model the word "help" or phrase "help me".

  • Uses possessives, like Daddy’s sock. While washing, folding, or putting away laundry with your child, you can work on possessives "Mommy's shirt" or "(name)'s shorts".

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: 19 to 24 months. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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