Communication is a process of exchanging verbal or non-verbal information between individuals. It involves the receptive (ability to understand) language, expressive (production of words to convey messages) language, speech (sound of a spoken language) and pragmatic language (rules in a spoken language).

Every child may not develop these communication skills at the same time or rate as compared to another child. Every child is unique in his/her development. However, when a child does not acquire certain skills at a certain developmental age, this could be a red flag of a communication disorder.

Here are some of the communication disorder red flags to look out for:

Age (Months) Skills 

  • 0 – 3 - Does not smile or interact with others
  • 0 – 12 months - Shows lack of attention to sounds 
  • 4 – 7 - Does not babble (e.g. bababababa)
  • 7 – 12 - Makes few sounds.Does not use gestures (e.g. lifting up hands to be picked up)/Does not respond when you call his/her name/ Does not understand what others say (7 – 24 months) 
  • 12 – 18 - Says only limited word. Does not follow simple directions
  • 18 – 24 - Says fewer than 50 words.Does not combine at least two or more words together
  • 24 – 36 - Has trouble playing and talking with other children. Speech is unclear, even to familiar people 
  • 36 – 48 - Unable or never asks questions
  • 48 – 60 - Unable to tell simple stories. Have problems with early reading and writing skills (e.g. naming alphabets and scribbling with pencil)

If you notice any of these signs, please do not wait to seek help. It is highly recommended that you get your child evaluated by a qualified Speech-Language Therapist or a related professional (ie. Developmental Paediatrician, Clinical Psychologist).