From the first few days of life, the speech, language, and communication skills of a child start to develop. Children learn to communicate with the adults in their environment before they have developed speech skills or the skills required to understand and express language. However, they may not be speaking and processing the information as they hear sounds and noises around them.
The skills of communication start to grow and develop as children grow with their exposure to language, life experiences, and the communicative opportunities they are given. And their families and parents look forward to their child’s gradual development and want to make sure their child is developing properly.
As children grow, they pass through key developmental milestones at certain ages.
See here the developmental milestones your child will likely achieve with passing through certain years.
Early Development 0-12 Months
During this time, children will be hearing a sound, will turn towards it, will be startled by loud or sudden noises, recognize the voice of carers, will watch the face of those who are speaking to them, or will make vocalizations that are made up of vowels.
- Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
- Doesn’t watch things as they move
- Doesn’t smile at people
- Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
- Can’t hold head up when pushing up when on tummy
Children will turn immediately towards familiar voices, listen to a voice even if the adult is not in sight, respond to turn to the conversation, respond to their names, will imitate vocal sounds in a playful manner, understand and react to simple questions such as “where is mumma?”
- Doesn’t roll over in either direction
- Doesn’t laugh or make squealing sounds
- Seems very stiff, with tight muscles Seems very floppy, like a rag doll
- Doesn’t respond to sounds around him Has difficulty getting things to mouth Doesn’t make vowel sounds (“ah”, “eh”, “oh”)
Early Infancy and Toddler 12 Months-3 Years
By this age, children start to understand simple single information that carries the word instructions, such as give me the ball, etc. Children may have a few words but will usually make babble vocalizations. During this age, children should make vocalizations using both vowels and consonants, follow simple directions such as ‘no,’ use at least 3 words, will bring toys to show you, etc.
- Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking their head
- Doesn’t point to things
- Doesn’t walk steadily
- Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
- Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
- Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
- Doesn’t understand simple instructions
Infancy 3-5 Years
This is preschooler age when their speech, language, and communication skills tend to bloom. They start speaking and using language more adult-like and become able to talk in detail about their experiences and thoughts. By this time, your child should be able to use longer sentences and join sentences together, to describe events that have happened during the day or previously, to ask questions using ‘what? Why? Where?,’ or to like simple jokes, etc.
- Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
- Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
- Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet
- Can’t retell a favorite story
- Doesn’t understand “same” and “different”
- Speaks unclearly
Child 5-12 Years
By this age, a child will begin to use their phonological skills to help them with recognizable sounds, to understand longer instructions that contain 2-3 parts e.g. go downstairs, open the fridge, etc. to understand and recognize different sounds which will help in the development of reading, e.g. what sound comes at the start of a word, or use conjunctions to join sentences. By the age of 12 years, children will be able to recognize idioms but won’t always know why they are funny or what they mean, will be able to negotiate with friends and adults by giving other possible options or outcomes.
- Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
- Doesn’t respond to people, or responds only superficially
- Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
- Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
However, all children tend to develop at different rates, some of them may begin to walk at a faster rate than others. In general, children should meet general developmental milestones by certain ages and stages of their life. But there are many children who do not always meet these developmental milestones or are delayed in meeting them. Speech and language therapy can help them improve a child’s development and help them reach milestones.
The reasons for some children not being able to meet their speech, language, and communication milestones are brain injury, cerebral palsy, etc.
With early intervention therapy, these disorders can be addressed. Speech and language therapists can provide evaluation and therapy to enhance a child’s development at every stage of their life.
Consult Speech and Language Therapists at Hope AMC.
Our speech and language therapists are trained to diagnose and provide effective therapy to children of all ages and abilities with varying conditions.