Excerpt From 'Sound of Hope' by Lois Heymann and Rosie O'Donnell

• Sounds begin to have meaning.
• A child begins to respond to "no."
• The baby recognizes changes in a voice's loudness and pitch.
• He or she starts to associate word meaning with sound.
• The baby listens to his or her own voice.
• Rhythm and music draw their own reaction.
• The baby shows an interest in toys that pair sound with movement, such as rattles, musical mobiles, or anything else designed to make noise when it moves or is moved.
• The baby demonstrates increased attention to more varied environmental sounds, such as a vacuum cleaner, a fan, or a door slamming in another room.

At the ninety-day mark, your baby is now ready to play. She is awake for longer periods of time, is more physically active and clearly enjoys interacting with you. She can now grasp objects and bring them to her mouth for more sensory exploration. If your play involves language, your baby is ready to experience that, too. At this age a child can create vowel-like ("a," "e," "o") and consonant-like ("p," "b," "m") sounds.

Six to Twelve Months

• The child begins to listen and pay attention when spoken to.
• He or she responds to his or her name by turning.
• He or she is able to focus on listening for longer periods of time.
• The baby begins to like and play games that pair voice with movements.
• Familiar words (names of daily used objects and frequently seen people) are recognized in familiar contexts.
• The baby responds to familiar requests, such as waving bye-bye or being asked to give something to the parent.
• The child recognizes sounds paired with objects, such as an animal sound with the appropriate animal.

Your baby is awake even more and therefore more available to play. At six to twelve months a baby loves to look at books and pictures with you and is becoming much more physically active. She's developing a longer attention span, sitting by herself, crawling, pulling herself up to standing, and possibly even taking her first steps. She shows off her developing fine motor skills while playing with blocks and stacking rings. As the twelve-month mark approaches, she clearly understands more about the world around her.

One to Two Years

• The child begins to show specific comprehension of words.
• He or she can point out and identify pictures and objects by their names.
• He or she can also point to simple body parts on themselves and others.
• The child will now imitate words he or she hears.
• The child can follow one-step commands or questions such as "Throw the ball" or "Where's the kitty?"
• He or she likes listening to simple stories.
• The child loves to listen to songs and rhymes and can incorporate body and hand movements to go with some of them.

During this time your baby's speech makes a big leap forward. Over the course of year one to two, most children go from babbling to creating nonsense words to learning and using real words and finally to using real words in two-word combinations. Increasingly your child enjoys playing with things that represent actual objects, such as using a block as a truck. She also explores her environment, learning how to walk and even how to climb stairs and using fine motor skills to manipulate simple one-piece puzzles.

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