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Communication Milestones Between 1 and 2 Years of Age

toddler playing blocks

In the second year, children start expressing themselves through language. Below is a list of important language milestones during this period.

12-18 Months

  • Follows familiar instructions
  • Understands 50 words or more
  • Anticipates what familiar people will do in routine interactions
  • Starts using one or more words
  • Points and gestures to communicate
  • Babbles and makes noise while playing
  • Imitates new sounds and words

18-24 Months

  • Rapid growth in understanding words, directions, and questions, especially those related to routines
  • Points to things in books and around them when those things are named
  • Rapid growth in expressive vocabulary from 50 to several hundred words
  • Tries to communicate using words and gestures frequently
  • May be starting to put two words together (e.g., "car go" or "want juice")


Speech, Language, & Hearing Milestones: 1 to 2 years, video excerpt offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (

Red Flags

Seek the advice of your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist if you observe the following with your child:

  • Having trouble communicating in short phrases
  • Cannot follow directions or answer questions
  • Little or no interest in other children
  • Limited pretend play and play with toys
  • Not sust

Image: imagerymajestic /


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