Speech-Language Developmental Milestones: Two-Year-Olds:
Receptive Skills (Understanding)
- Points to identify major body parts on self, e.g., eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
- Points to identify most common objects and actions in pictures.
- Follows related two-step commands, e.g., “Get your shoe and take it to Daddy.”
- Understands several pronouns, e.g., “me, you, my and your.”
- Understands spatial concepts such as “in, out, on and off"
- Uses words more often than gestures to communicate.
- Vocabulary around fifty words.
- Combines words into short 2-3 word phrases, typically noun + verb combinations.
- Progresses from referring to self by name to using early pronouns, although “me” and “I” are often confused.
- Uses rising intonation or question inflection, e.g., “My ball?”
- Ending sounds may be omitted from words, e.g., “up” said as “uh.”
- Approximately 65% of speech should be intelligible (easily understood).
Remember, these are general guidelines. There will be variability among children based upon their own particular experiences with language. All children, however, benefit from language-rich environments. Parents/caregivers have many opportunities to facilitate a child's language growth simply by commenting or talking about daily activities. The narration can be expanded as the child becomes more competent with language. For example, narration for a two-year-old might be “puppy wet;” for a four-year-old, the narration could be expanded to, “The puppy is wet because it’s raining outside.”
Reading books with children is another fabulous opportunity to stimulate language growth. Again, the complexity should shift with age and ability. With younger children, you may simply comment about the pictures in books, then graduate to books with simple language and colorful pictures. As the child’s understanding of language evolves, books with an actual story line can be introduced.
Engaging in play with children is another way to enhance their understanding and use of language. From simple finger plays like the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, to Simon Says, and later memory/matching games – most games provide opportunities to develop listening skills, expressive vocabulary and concept development.
Talk. Read. Play. Have fun and watch your child’s language grow!