Language Stages Overview

The “Stages” that form the foundation of the AAC Language Lab are a compilation of information on language development gathered from a vast number of resources, and organized in a single chart of teachable segments, called Stages. Because the acquisition of new language skills flows gradually from stage to stage, it is not unusual to find skill development overlapping the stage divisions. Therefore, the stages provide a general structure, but should not be interpreted rigidly.

Stage 1

Talking with one word at a time: The person speaks one word at a time. He or she learns to direct activities, request, and label.

Go to Stage 1

Stage 2

Talking with two and three word phrases: The person learns more words. He or she begins to combine words to make phrases.

Go to Stage 2

Stage 3

Building phrases and early sentences: The person combines words in meaningful order. Use of grammar endings for -ing verbs, such as walking, as well as -s to pluralize nouns begins.

Go to Stage 3

Stage 4

Learning grammar and sentence structure: Asking questions and making negative statements begin. Use of irregular past tense verbs, or those that create their past tense without adding -ed, such as ate, begins.

Go to Stage 4

Stage 5

Using sentences and phrases with more grammar endings: He or she learns to make nouns possessive by adding ‘s as in mom’s car. Both third person present tense verbs, which use -s as in he eats, and the use of -ed to make regular past tense verbs, such as talked begin.

Go to Stage 5

Stage 6

Using correct grammar and word order in complex sentences: The person understands most grammar rules. Language continues to grow by adding vocabulary.

Go to Stage 6