Communication Milestones for Children With Down Syndrome

Families often ask us …”My child has Down Syndrome. Is it fair that he/she should be evaluated according to the same criteria as other children?”

It is generally known that individuals with Down Syndrome have challenges in their communication skills for a variety of reasons. Over the years, researchers have studied the development of communication in people with Down Syndrome and have identified expectations that are felt to be general guidelines for helping families know what to expect in their child’s development.

Listed below are some of the communication milestones and the age at which children with Down Syndrome would be expected to achieve these skills:

Skill (Age)

– crying (by 12 months)
– eye contact/looking (by 12 months)
– smiling (by 12 months)
– vocalizing/babbling (by 12 months)
– facial expression/gestures/signs (by 12 months)
– points to 3 body parts when asked(by 13 – 15 months)
– says or signs first words(by 12 – 60 months)
– points to pictures when named (by 24 – 36 months)
– comprehends 50 – 100 words (by 24 – 36 months)

When you look at this list, keep in mind that these finding are based on one or two groups of researchers’ findings. There will always be some variation. However, if you are interested in finding out more, there is a good website: http:/ or you can contact the Down Syndrome Education Trust. On the website, you will notice there are checklists that you can use to keep track of your child’s language development.