Speech and Language Traits of the 18-Month-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 18 months old, your child will...

  • use 10 to 50 words, including names
  • combine two words such as "all gone," "daddy bye-bye"
  • hear well and discriminate among many sounds
  • recognize pictures of familiar persons and objects
  • use words to make wants known, such as "more," "up"
  • imitate words and sounds more precisely
  • point and gesture to call attention to an event or to show wants
  • bring a familiar object from another room when asked to do so
  • follow simple commands
  • hum and may sing simple songs or tunes

You can stimulate the 18-month-old child’s speech by...

  • frequently reading books to the child
  • talking simply, clearly and slowly to the child
  • providing experiences to stimulate development of speech and language in the child: taking walks, going shopping, planting a garden, picnicking, or cleaning the house or yard together
  • talking to the child about new situations before you go, while you are there, and again after returning home
  • looking at the child when he or she talks to you
  • imitating and identifying sounds with the child, such as animal sounds, birds singing, sirens on fire trucks, running water
  • making speaking and listening experiences pleasant, worthwhile and fun for the child
  • allowing the child to listen to children’s records and tapes
  • praising the child’s efforts to communicate

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