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Communication Disorders
Communication Disorders

Sound Awareness Checklist

Language is acquired by listening very early on.  Without hearing the consistency and repetitiveness of speech and language, a child may be at risk for a speech and language disorder.1

Some milestones for sound awareness development are listed below, it is important to know that as follows;

Three months

  • Startles to loud sounds
  • Is soothed or calmed by your voice

Six months

  • Stirs or awakens to voices when sleeping quietly
  • Responds to changes in your tone of voice
  • Turns head or moves eyes to find a familiar voice or new sound source
  • Makes different cries for different needs

Nine months

  • Responds to his or her name
  • Understands common words like ‘no,’ or ‘bye-bye,’ or recognize words for common items
  • Uses gestures reaches for items
  • Babbles, repeats babbling sounds

12 months

  • Follow simple, single step instructions
  • Point to pictures in a book when they are named
  • Listen to simple stories, songs and rhymes
  • Combines different sounds as if talking
  • Consistently uses three to five words
  • Uses gestures – waves ‘bye-bye’, shakes head for ‘no’

18 months

  • Minimum of four different consonant sounds – p, b, m, n, d, g, w, h
  • Continue to notice sounds
  • Points to body parts and pictures in books when asked
  • Consistently uses 20 or more words
  • Responds with words to simple questions – ‘where’s kitty?,’ ‘what’s this?’

24 moths

  • Follows two-step directions
  • Uses 100-150 words
  • Begins to speak in two-word combinations like ‘mommy shoe ‘
  • Others can understand child’s speech 50-60 per cent of the time

30 months

  • Hear you when you call from another room
  • Hear TV at the same volume as others
  • Answer simple who, what, where, why questions
  • Uses action words, laugh, run, drop
  • Uses words with two or more syllables – e.g.‘ba-na-na'
  • Has 350+ word vocabulary

Visit AboutKidsHealth for more information on phonological awareness.

Warning Signs for Hearing Loss 

  • Stops babbling early
  • Experiences fluid drain from ears
  • Frequently pulls at his/her ears (with fever or crankiness)
  • Frequently gets cold and ear infections
  • Does not understand someone unless he/she is facing them
  • Speaks loudly or turns up the volume of the television, radio, disturbing other listeners
  • Does not say single words by 12 months
  • Does not respond when called
  • Needs things to be repeated
  • Has articulation errors, especially with high frequency sounds like s, z, t, k and f2

If you have concerns regarding a child’s development you should consult your Doctor or local Audiologist.

1 obtained from The Hearing Foundation of Canada, Baby’s Communication Checklist and Hearing Checklist and Beyond Words
2 from Speech-Language and Audiology Canada