Pragmatic Language Development Chart

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Joined: 11 Sep 2011
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Location: DallasTexas, USA

02 Jul 2012, 11:50 am

I found this while roaming around on the internet. It came from a document on Pragmatic Language Assessment Guidelines. ... nguage.pdf

As much as the pragmatic language, and language delay information comes up on this board, I thought this would be helpful because it has a lot of pre-language developmental skills.

Pragmatic Language Developmental Chart
Birth to 3 Months
? Briefly looks at people
? Follows moving person with eyes
? Quiets in response to sound (responds more readily to speech rather than nonspeech)
? Smiles/coos in response to another smile/voice (1-4 months)
? Excites when caregiver approaches (1-4 months)
? Aware of strangers and unfamiliar situations (1-4 months)
? Cries differentially when tired, hungry or in pain
? Quiets when picked up
3 to 6 Months
? Fixes gaze on face
? Responds to name by looking for voice (4-8 months)
? Regularly localizes sound source/speaker
? Occasionally vocalizes in response to speech
6 to 9 Months
? Initiates vocalizing to another person
? Enjoys being played with (4-8 months)
? Differentiates vocalizations for different states: hunger, anger, contentment (4-8
? Recognizes familiar people
? Cries when parent leaves the room
? Imitates familiar sounds and actions
9 to 12 Months
? Shouts or coughs to attract attention
? Shakes head “no” and pushes undesired objects away
? Waves “bye”
? Affectionate to familiar people
? Begins directing others’ behavior physically and through gestures (pats, pulls, tugs
on adult)
? Uses pointing to learn new vocabulary (people in environment label things as child
? Extends arms to be picked up
? Participates in games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
? Reaches to request an object
? Begins to vary behavior according to emotional reactions of others; repeats actions
that are laughed at
? Participates in vocal play, using content and expression
12 to 18 Months
? Brings objects to show an adult
? Requests objects by pointing and vocalizing or possibly using a word
? Solicits another’s attention vocally, physically and possibly with a word
? Gesturally requests action/assistance (may give back wind-up toy to request reactivation)
? Says “bye” and possibly a few other conversational ritual words such as “hi”,
“thank you” and “please”
? Protests by saying “no”, shaking head, moving away, frowning or pushing objects
? Comments on object/action by directing listener’s attention to it with a point and
vocalization or word approximation
? Labels objects
? Answers simple wh questions with vocal response (may be unintelligible)
? Acknowledges speech of another by giving eye contact, vocally responding or
repeating word said.
? Teases, scolds, warns using gesture plus a vocalization or word approximation
18 to 24 Months
? Uses simple words or short phrases to express the intentions listed at the 12-18
month level
? Names objects in front of others
? Says, “What’s that?” to elicit attention
? Begins using single words and two-word phrases to a command (move), indicate
possession (mine), and express problems (got boo boo)
? Much verbal turn-taking
2 to 3 Years
? Engages in short dialogues
? Verbally introduces and changes topic of discussion
? Expresses emotion
? Begins using language in imaginative ways
? Begins providing descriptive details to facilitate comprehension
? Uses attention-getting words such as, “hey”
? Clarifies and requests clarification
? Prenarrative development begins with heaps (collection of unrelated ideas) and
sequences (story elements linked by perceptual bonds)
3 to 4 Years
? Engages in longer dialogues
? Assumes the role of another person in play
? Uses more fillers to acknowledge partner’s message (uh-huh, ok)
? Begins code switching (using simpler language) when talking to very young
? Uses more elliptical responses
? Requests permission
? Begins using language for fantasies, jokes, teasing
? Makes conversational repairs when listener has not understood
? Corrects others
? Primitive narratives: events follow from central core/use of inference in stories
? Topic maintenance for 3 turns and provides explanations
? Requests more information to keep conversation going
? Appropriate eye contact
? Terminates conversation appropriately
? Uses indirectives/hints to get listener to do/get something
? Refines speech to insure listener has background information
? Role playing, temporarily assumes another’s perspective-jokes with conversation
partner, provides warning, teases
5 to 6 Years
? Uses indirect requests
? Correctly uses deictic items such as this, that, here, there
? Uses twice as many effective utterances as 3-year old to discuss emotions and
? Narrative development characterized by unfocused chains; stories have
sequence of events but no central character or theme
? Tells a story by looking at pictures
? Describes functions of objects
? Communicates cause-and-effect relationships
? Uses contingent queries to maintain a conversation
? Creates interest in a listener by indirect references
? Communicates knowledge about the world to peers and adults
? Tells 2 familiar stories without pictures for help; includes all important parts
? States a problem
? Sustains a topic for 4 turns
? Provides information that is relevant to the listener
? Responds appropriately to questions involving time concepts
? Will answer/ask “where”, “when”, “why”, “how many”, “what do you do?”,
“why do we?”
? Extends topic
? Asks permission to use other’s belongings
? Uses such terms as, “thank you”, “please”, and “you’re welcome”
? Recognizes another’s need for help and provides assistance


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Joined: 27 Oct 2011
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02 Jul 2012, 2:51 pm

This is interesting. Not that we are close to chronological age on this anyway, but I wish they included skills for older kids too, just so I knew the full extent of what typical kids his age do. I know he is behind, from when I talk to his classmates from time to time, but the Aspie in me, I guess wants to know how much.


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Joined: 11 Jul 2012
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

17 Jul 2012, 2:42 pm

thank you, very interesting, and a bit disheartening really!


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Joined: 26 Jul 2010
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17 Jul 2012, 8:27 pm

I agree...I wish they kept this chart going! Thanks so much for sharing, though - I will forward to other parents I know - this seems to be an oft-overlooked issue with kids on the spectrum.


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Joined: 12 Oct 2010
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Location: Rome Italy

18 Jul 2012, 2:18 am

I am studying this topic since I found no appropriate professional help so far. If you PM me I'll send you books I'm approaching. This list of ability is vital to reach a real reading comprehension later. I don't know US situation, but in Italy most professionals are not up-to-date. My neurospichiatrist said that my son would have started speaking even without my intervention. I know for sure it's impossible and not to underestimate my son. I know how much effort he put to reach this goal. She is the same professional who says he will never understand a textbook. Reseaech ha s made several gains in last years and we have more and more chances to teach our children


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Joined: 26 Feb 2011
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26 Jul 2012, 5:05 pm

My son only said "ma" (refused to say ma-ma) and "bmmm" (car sound) at 2 years old. As he was my first child, and I didn't know diddley about children, I didn't know how weird that was. My second child, who appears to be completely NT so far, astounds me with all the things she can do and say at 2. I keep thinking, "Is she a genius, or was he really THAT delayed?" And then I wonder why no one ever said a word to me about it. :?


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27 Jul 2012, 12:28 am

human bodies are exquisitely balanced sublime machines to enable the spiritual development of their occupants.