The baby’s first cries are early attempts at communication.

By 12 months of age, babies should babble with changes in pitch and volume (i.e. ba ba ba ba ba). These sounds are initiated from close contact with parents and then turn into meaningful words! By 18 months of age, children should be using at least 20 words (The Hanen Centre, 2011). It is normal for children to simplify words at this stage (i.e. ‘buh’ for ‘bus’ and ‘duh’ for ‘duck’).

Amazingly,by about 24 months of age, most children use around 200 words! Even more astonishingly, they now start to combine some of these early words into small sentences such as ‘more juice’, ‘big car’. It’s a fun and happy time and from here, children continue to develop their language rapidly.

Does my child need to see a Speech Pathologist?

  • Does your child have less than 20 single words at age 18 months?
  • Does your child have less than 100 single words at age 24 months?
  • Is your child using only single words to communicate at age 24 months?
  • Are you becoming concerned?
  • Is your child reluctant to imitate sounds or words?
  • Is your child disinterested in communicating with people?
  • Is your child frustrated trying to communicate?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, an assessment by a certified practicing speech pathologist with paediatric experience is highly recommended.


The Hanen Centre. (2011). When Should you Seek Help? [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from