Stage 4 Development

A young learner entering into Stage 4 of development seems to recognize new words on a daily basis, understand many complex sentences, and can be observed listening to conversations of others. Additionally, during this stage of development, a child's speech is characterized by a significant decrease in the jargoning type of speech as new words and\ simple sentences with two-word combinations emerge.

  1. Listening

    This is the time when a child can be observed to listen to a wide variety of sounds in the environment, especially sounds that in some way carry meaning such as a dog barking, or the trash truck, or other children’s voices.

    • The stage 4 child now understands that objects in his/her environment have meaning and will easily look directly to the door when the doorbell rings, or at the phone when it rings, etc.
    • Following simple related two-step commands is becoming easy and the variety of commands a child can follow is now growing at a rapid rate. Commands such as, "Get your book and open it."
    • Repeating something someone just said is something the stage 4 child seems to enjoy doing as long as the phrase or sentence is no more than 3 or 4 syllables long.
  2. Responding to Voice

    The child's ability to understand what is being said to him/her increases daily, not only for words but also for sentences.

    • Understanding new words is part of a child's development in stage 4. The words include at least 6 verbal commands such as come, go, look, jump, etc., identifying at least 5 body parts on him/her self or a doll, identifying at least 3 clothing items, identifying a minimum of five pictures of simple objects.
    • Now the child is able to understand different types of words such as pronouns such as me, her, him when used in a sentence form. For example, "Give it to her."
    • The child is able to understand some prepositions such as "in" and "on." For example, he/she responds correctly when told to "Put it in the box", or "Put it on the table."
    • Beginning to understand time concept is also emerging when words such as "now" are used. For example, "Bring it to me, now," or "Now we are going."
  3. Vocalizing

    The stage 4 child now shows an amazing ability to imitate words he/she has never said before when asked to do so as well as to generate new words he/she may not have practiced previously.

    • He/she uses 20 or more real words in his/her vocabulary regularly, will use a combination of jargon speech and real words while playing alone, may try to tell about an experience using both jargon speech and real words.
    • While playing, a child will name several of his/her familiar objects, refer to him/her self by first name, and include many speech sounds to represent the sound objects make such as "beep-beep" for the car horn, "meow" for the cat, "rrrr" for the car, etc.
    • Two-word combinations are very common at this stage. These two-word combinations include 2-word noun phrases such as “big car”, phrases with possessive pronouns such as "my car," 2-word phrases with demonstrative words such as "this car" or "that car", 2-word phrases containing a verb and a noun such as "car go."