Important Milestones: Your Child at 18 Months


Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area, such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor development. Milestones usually are categorized into five major areas: physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social development, language development, and sensory and motor development. What most babies do at 18 months: Social and Emotional

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by


  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he/she wants

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his/her own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself/himself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

*Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child*

  • Doesn’t point to show things to others
  • Can’t walk
  • Doesn’t know what familiar things are for
  • Doesn’t copy others
  • Doesn’t gain new words
  • Doesn’t have at least 6 wordsDoesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had


  • Encourage and provide the necessary space for physical activity
  • Allow the child to help around the house and participate in the family’s daily responsibilities
  • Encourage play that involves building and creativity
  • Read to the child
  • Encourage play dates with children of the same age
  • Avoid television time before age 2
  • Play simple games together, such as puzzles and shape sorting
  • A transitional object may help separation anxiety

If you have any questions or concerns, contact speech-language pathologist, Christine Wilson.

Your Child at 1 Year


How your child plays, learns, speaks, and acts offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 1st birthday. Take this with you and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.

What most children do at this age (1 year old):


  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”


  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

Act Early by Talking to Your Child’s Doctor if Your Child:

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age, and talk with someone in your community who is familiar with services for young children in your area, such as your state’s public early intervention program. If you have any questions contact Speech Therapist, Christine Wilson at

Using an Appropriate Volume


Posted by Emily K. Hulse

Volume is the loudness or softness of your voice. Is your child having difficulties in using an appropriate volume? Use the steps below to help teach your child how to use an appropriate volume. You can start the discussion with your child by asking him/her this question: What are some situations in which you had to adjust your volume level?

1. Know the difference between a soft voice and a loud voice: Have your child practice using soft and loud voices at home in order to learn how each one feels and sounds.

2. Know your habit: Many people typically talk too softly or too loudly. If your child is aware that they talk softly or loudly, they can adjust their volume to make it easier for a listener to hear them.

3. Consider your environment: It’s important for your child to be able to decide how softly or loudly he/she needs to speak by listening to the noise level of his/her surroundings.

4. Look at the distance between you and your listener: Inform your child that if they are standing a couple feet away from their listener, they can speak in a softer voice than if they are standing several yards away.

5. Recognize when you are excited about a topic: When we are excited, we tend to speak louder and quicker! When your child is able to recognize that he/she is speaking too loud due to excitement, your child will learn how to control his/her volume.

Going over these steps with your child will help him/her understand when it is appropriate to talk softly and loudly. They will be able to adjust their volumes in no time! If you have any questions about volume control, contact Christine Wilson.

Speech Therapy in the 21st Century: Using iPad Apps for Home Programming!


Posted by Emily K. Hulse

Downloading and using speech apps on your iPad at home is a great tip for home programming! There are a variety of apps that focus on different areas of speech. Listed below are some of Christine Wilson’s suggested apps to download and use with your child. Christine Wilson suggests that when using the iPad, the child does not become the operator! Progress will be seen if the parent operates the iPad and sits down with their child to make sure he/she is verbalizing what he/she wants before allowing them to just select random options on the iPad. What a great way to practice speech at home! Below are some of our favorite speech apps.

Hamagucci Apps:

  • FunwithVerbs: Fun with Verbs & Sentences is the next step up for children who are learning to speak in sentences, understand past and present verb tensing, and formulate basic syntax structures. This app is great for children who have autism, apraxia and language delays.
  • Prepositions: “Speech with Milo” apps were created by a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, and have been downloaded over 100,000 times. Milo is for speech therapists working with children, or parents who want to teach language skills to their children. The app offers an enjoyable tool used in therapy at a cheap price!
  • MoreFun: This app will help your child with directions. It includes the following concepts: up, down, in front, behind, put in, take out, above, below, turn on, turn off, on, under.
  • First Phrases: This is a perfect app for young students who are just beginning to combine 2 or 3 words together to communicate.
  • PicSentence HD: Picture the Sentence HD is another great speech language app from Hamaguchi! It is fully customizable to increase competence. It will also provide many different opportunities to work on auditory processing and memory retention skills.
  • FunWithDirections: Designed to provide a fun and engaging way to practice listening, following directions, colors, spatial concepts, auditory memory and auditory processing.
  • Objects: Home: This app is designed for children ages 6-12, but can be adapted for younger and older users. It is perfect for children who need practice with defining, describing, vocabulary development, explaining, and understanding salient features (what’s important) about an object or place. It also offers an excellent way to integrate articulation and fluency practice!
  • BTLines1: Designed for older elementary students and up, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions.

Practice with Language Skills:

  • Fun & Functional
  • Idioms
  • Pragmatics
  • WH Questions
  • Using I and Me
  • Negation
  • IrregularVerbs
  • IrregularPlurals
  • Parts Speech


  • R Game
  • Articulation
  • Articulation Carnival
  • Flipbooks
  • SpchFlipBk
  • VowelViz

Sound Apps:

  • AuditoryVerbal
  • SoundExplorer


  • ApraxiaCards (LinguiSystems): Treat childhood apraxia of speech with appealing pictures and a precise, organized hierarchy of word selections and prompts.

Christine Wilson’s clinic is a family-centered practice. Christine requires home programming for all of her patients. She demonstrates techniques and activities to do with your child at home. Using apps on the iPad for home programming is a great way to practice speech with your child. When home programming is used on top of speech treatment, Christine guarantees progress will be faster!

Encourage Speech Sounds Through Reading


Posted by Emily K. Hulse

A great way to encourage a child to pronounce sounds correctly is to expose him/her to early developing speech sounds before he/she can even talk by reading books loaded with these sounds.

Speech therapists commonly use a strategy with children with articulation and phonological disorders called “auditory bombardment.” This technique repeatedly exposes the child to the correct production of mispronounced sounds. This increases the child’s ability to hear incorrect sounds in his/her own speech.

Early developing sounds include p, b, t, d, k, g, and m. Often children will naturally omit these sounds from the ends of words or in the middle of multi-syllabic words. This is a common pattern in articulatory development. Just provide a good speech model by over-emphasizing the target sound. Below is an example of a book that includes many early developing sounds. The number of times a sound occurs is listed under the book.

Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss:
p – 19
m – 20
g – 7
d – 25
b – 15
k – 32
t – 50

Reading sound-filled books to your child when he/she is a baby increases sound production and the opportunity to hear early developing sounds pronounced correctly. Before bedtime tonight, snuggle up next to your child and read a book!

Practice Language Skills in the Car!

You’re about to set off on a road trip. While you’re eagerly anticipating that perfect vacation getaway, you have hours in a crowded car standing between you and your destination. The car is a great place to practice speech/language skills and strategies. Whether it’s a long or short car ride, take advantage of time spent in the car by playing some fun, language-based games!

Here are some ideas:

Categories: To play this game, one player chooses a category, such as “animals.” Every player takes a turn naming an item in the category. If a player repeats a word or is unable to name a word in the category, he/she is out. Play continues until one player remains and wins the game. To make this task more complex, have the child add more descriptive words to the category (e.g., animals with tails, animals that live in the zoo) or name animals alphabetically (eg., aardvark, bear, cat, dog, etc.).

Rhyme Time: To practice phonological awareness skills, children can practice creating rhymes for things they see from the car window or in the environment around them. For example, if a child chooses the word “tree,” other players must name some rhyming words (e.g., knee, see, me). The player who gives the most rhymes is the winner! As an added bonus, players can create rhymes using nonsense words (e.g., slee, dree). Other players take turns identifying whether the rhyming word is a real word or a nonsense word.

Cities and Syllables: As you pass through different towns, cities, or states, children can practice counting the number of syllables in that city or state’s name. For example, when passing through Idaho, the child counts or claps out three syllables. When passing through Tallahassee, the child counts/claps out four syllables. In a variation of this game, a parent chooses a particular number of syllables. Players look for words in the environment (e.g., road signs, billboards) that contain the specified number of syllables. Each player earns a point for finding a word. The player with the most points wins!

Guess It: Players take turns describing familiar items or objects (e.g., car, apple, baby). The first player chooses an object and gives three clues to describe it. All of the other players take turns guessing what the first player is describing (e.g., It is a fruit; it can be red or green; it grows on a tree). If no players guess correctly, the first player provides another clue about the object. The player who correctly identifies the mystery object earns a point and chooses the next word to describe.

Showtime: Choose age-appropriate DVDs to show children in the car. As the movie or program plays, pause the film to ask questions, such as:

Who is that character?

What do you think is going to happen next?

Where does this story take place?

When does this story take place?

How does this character feel? Why? How can you tell? When was a time that you felt that way?

Who is your favorite character? Why?

What was your favorite part of the movie? Why?

At the end of the film, have the child retell the story to another person in the car. The story should include characters, settings, chronological events, and a conclusion. Encourage the child to produce a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Apps: Educational apps that help children practice language skills are available for tablets or smartphones. Apps like Super Duper’s StoryMaker are interactive and engaging. Apps can address several domains of language: grammar, vocabulary, and social skills.

The suggested games above are great for turning a long car ride into a fun and learning experience! Playing games during long trips is a great way to expand and reinforce language skills.

A Fun Way to Practice Articulation Skills at Home!


Written by Emily K. Hulse

Many household games can be useful in practicing speech sounds. The game Hedbanz is the goofy quick-question game of “What Am I?” Players wear a “picture card” in their headband, and then quickly ask questions to figure out what they are. The age range appropriate for this game is 6+ years. Hedbanz is an excellent game to use at home to practice articulation skills. Instead of using the cards that come with the game, make personalized articulation cards! For an example, if your child is having difficulties with the -sh sound, create “what am I cards” that start and end with that sound. This would be a fun way to practice with your child at home! This game focuses on vocabulary, semantics (word meaning), and syntax. This game also focuses on item description, auditory recall and synthesis, and question formation and answering. Can you think of other games you can use with your child to practice speech?