SPEECH DEVELOPMENT - Infant to Childhood.

What are Voice, Speech and Language?

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Voice, Speech and Language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

VOICE: is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our Larynx , Causing them to vibrate.

SPEECH: is talking , which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw , and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

LANGUAGE: is a set of shared rules that allow people to express verbally or by writing, singing or making other gestures , such as eye blinking or mouth movement.

How do Speech and Language develop?

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The first 3 years of life ,when the brain in developing and maturing , is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best a world that is rich with sounds, sights and consistent exposure to the speech and others.

There appear to be critical periods for speech and language development infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb  Language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure language, it will be more difficult to learn.

The first signs of communication occur when an infant learns that a Cry will bring food, comfort , and companionship.

Newborns also begin to recognize important sounds in their environment , such as the voice of their mother or primary caretaker. As they grow , babies begin to sort out the speech sounds that compose the words of their language. By 6 months of age , most babies recognize the basic sounds of their native language.
Children vary in their development of speech and language skills.

Baby's hearing and communicative
development checklist -

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Birth to 3 Months

- Reacts to loud sounds
- Calms down or smiles when spoken to
- Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying
- When feeding , starts or stops sucking in response to sound
- Looks and makes pleasure sounds
- Has a special way of crying for different needs
- Smiles when he or she sees you

4 to 6 months

- Follows sounds with his or her eyes
- Responds to changes in the tone of your voice
- Notices toys that make sounds
- Pays attention to music
- Babbles in a speech like way and uses many different sounds , including sounds that begin with p, b and m
- Laughs
- Babbles when excited or unhappy
- Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you

7 months to 1 year

- Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
- Turns and looks in the direction of sounds
- Listens when spoken to
- understands words for common items such as "cup" , "shoe" or "juice"
- Responds to requests ("come here")
- Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (" tata , up up, bibibi)
- Babbles to get and keep attention
- Communication using gestures such as waving or holding up arms
- Imitates different speech sounds
- Has one or two words ("Hi", "dog", "Dada" ,"Mama") by first birthday

1 to 2 years

- knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked
- Follows simple commands ("Roll the ball") and understands simple questions (" where's your shoe?)
- Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes
- Points to pictures , when named , in books
- Acquires new words on regular basis
- Uses some one - or two- words questions ("where kitty ?" Or " Go bye-bye?")
- Puts two words together ( "More cookies")
- Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

2 to 3 years

- Has a word for almost everything
- Uses two - or three word phrases to talk about and ask for things
- Uses k,g,f,t,d and sounds
- Speaks in a way that in understood by family members and friends
- Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them

3 to 4 years

- Hears you when you call from another room
- Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members
- Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where?", "why?" questions
- Talks about activities at daycare , present school, or friends homes
- Uses sentences with four or more words
- Speaks easily without having repeat syllables or words

4 to 5 years

- Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it
- Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
- Uses sentences that give many details
- Tells stories that stay on topic
- communicates easily with other children and adults
- Says most sounds correctly except for a few ( l,s,r,v,z,ch,sh, and th)
- Uses rhyming words
- Names some letters and numbers
- Uses adult grammar

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These milestones help doctors and others health professionals determine if a child is on track or if he or she may need extra help.
Sometimes a delay may be caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be due to a speech or language disorder.

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