Language development…..it’s one of those things we take for granted until there’s a delay or disorder. People often think it develops spontaneously as if there’s a seed inside the baby’s brain that suddenly sprouts and takes root. However, there’s nothing further from the truth. In some cases it seems to happen effortlessly but there is actually a complex series of “cause and effect” going on inside the brain in the early stages of development.
Language grows from the verbal nurturing of parent-child engagement.
The neural pathways develop from the input the brain receives through the ears or in the case of sign language through the eyes. Language is actually dependent on interaction. The frequency and quality of interactions has direct impact on the outcome.
Children are set up for literacy and academic success or hardship before they ever set foot in an educational setting.
As modern culture becomes more automated, faster paced and more dependent on technological communication there is less time for extended conversation within the home. The deterioration of conversation skills can SLOW literacy development.
Once literacy is late to develop the child is at risk for academic struggle.
Kindergarten teachers can usually already pick out which children have had lots of early book experience before they started school vs. the ones that were not read to consistently.
Sadly, many parents instinctively know when their child is not developing language well but they hear other parents or relatives tell a story about a late talker who turned out just fine. Because there is a range of development that is still considered “within normal limits” some pediatricians have also told families to “wait 6 more months”.
It’s true that some children are just slower than others but for the children who have actual deficits the delay getting to services can be detrimental.
If you have a concern about your child’s speech and or language development request an evaluation by a certified speech-language pathologist sooner rather than later. Early Intervention in the U.S. was created for just that…..EARLY…..INTERVENTION.
Before true words babies go through various stages of sound production development. Babies also have many reasons to want to communicate before true words emerge. Communicative INTENT (reason to want to communicate) is an early milestone to watch for before actual words emerge. Children also typically learn to understand at much higher levels than they can speak speak themselves early on also. Just because a child is talking in actual words doesn’t mean he/she is out of the woods yet. There are many variables best left to the licensed speech-language pathologist to determine if a disorder or delay is apparent.