Child Language Development

The Process of Child Language Development

In children, language develops at a fairly steady rate. Child language development begins at about six months. At this point the child responds to their name and responds to voices by turning towards them. They can also tell the difference between friendly voices and angry voices. By 12 months, children can generally use a few words, or partial words. At this point they understand the importance of speech.


How Child Speech Development Works

By 18 months, child speech development has usually begun. They have a vocabulary of anywhere from five to 20 words, mostly made up of nouns, and will often repeat a word or phrase over and over again. The majority of speech that a child learns in the first five years is based on what the parents or caregivers say to them. It is important to respond to the words and sounds that the child makes at this stage to say that you are listening and that you understand. Reading can be a big help in speech development. This is also a good way to understand what the child is saying. They will often use words or expressions that were read to them.

When to Worry About Speech Delay

If normal speech patterns and understanding have not developed by 18 months, it is possible that the child has some sort of speech delay. There are a number of reasons why this may have happened. The child may not be getting enough stimulation, or may have a hearing or developmental problem. There is also the possibility that the child might just be a late talker. If you are concerned about your child's speech development, then you should seek help.

How a Child Speech Therapist Can Help

If there is a problem or concern with a child's speech development, then child speech therapy could be the solution. The people who specialize in this area are known as speech therapists. A child speech therapist is educated in the way human speech and communication is formed, and the disorders that can exist. A speech therapist can work with a child one-on-one or with a small group. The therapist will use a variety of methods to assist with speech development. They will model the correct pronunciation of words, and play repetition games to help build language. They often read books with the children to stimulate interest. The speech therapist may also find that the jaw and mouth muscles need to be massaged and stimulated in order for the child to properly pronounce words. Even eating and swallowing foods of different textures and temperatures may be used to help the child's awareness of how the mouth and jaw work.