About Speech & Language Development
The first few years of life are the most critical for brain development and maturation in acquiring speech and language skills. Parents become experts in communicating with their child early as they learn what different cries mean and when their child is hungry. Communication is the first step in building the foundations of language and can include smiling, hugging, eye contact, and laughing.
A child begins to learn language during the first few days of life when they first hear their Mother’s voice and all the sounds around them. As they grow, they learn to attach meanings to those sounds and understand that the sounds they make are meaningful to others. Language makes up the words and rules used to express information, emotions, and ideas in a meaningful way. Language can be spoken, visual, written, or tactile and is very important for creating enriched interactions with others and for future growth of literacy and writing abilities.
As a child continues to grow and develop, they begin to use language. One of the happiest moments in a parent’s life is hearing their child’s first words. Speech is the ability to verbally express these ideas through the production of sounds, words, phrases, and sentences.
Just remember… language development is a life-long process and that effective communication builds the foundation for successful social, emotional and educational development. For more information on typical speech and language development, visit asha.org. If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, please contact your pediatrician, family doctor or a speech-language pathologist in your area.