Speech and Language Traits of the 1-Year-Old

Your child’s speech and language development depends on his or her ability to hear. A hearing loss can interrupt or delay the ability to communicate. All children, even newborns and young babies, can have their hearing tested. If you suspect a hearing problem, ask your doctor to refer your child to an audiologist. Seek prompt medical treatment if you suspect your child may have an ear infection.

At age 1, your child will...

  • recognize his or her name
  • understand "no"
  • understand simple instructions
  • imitate familiar words
  • wave good-bye and play pat-a-cake
  • use "mama" and "dada" and several other words, usually nouns
  • like to make the "sounds" of familiar animals and things
  • give a toy on request
  • hear well and discriminate between many sounds

You can stimulate the 1-year-old child’s speech and language by...

  • reading colorful books to the child
  • reciting nursery rhymes
  • encouraging imitation games such as peek-a-boo
  • using short words with the child
  • imitating the child’s movements and vocalizations
  • rewarding and encouraging early efforts at producing new words
  • not pressuring the child to perform for you
  • talking to the child about everything you’re doing when you’re with him or her

Provided for you by the Speech & Hearing Board of the Baptist Health Care Foundation and United Way Agency.