As a general rule, humans are social beings. We use communication to share information, express thoughts, values and needs with each other. This relationship begins from the moment we are born.
An Introduction to Speech Development
Newborn babies have different cries which is a unanimous form of communication. Most parents would be able to identify between a hungry cry and a pain cry even if the child was not their own. Over the following few months this evolves into the exchange of coos and squeaks that a baby may have with their caregiver.
By ten months, baby has more control over his “voice”, chatting with tones that are appropriate for context. High pitch, quick sounds when he is excited. Lower, drawn out tones when he is content.
At one year of age, a baby would be saying “mama” or/and “dada” and know who they are referring to.
Come 18 months of age, a baby would be able to say approximately 50 words. This includes, names, objects, feelings, places, colours etc. Fifty does sound like a big number but when you write all of baby’s words down, they do add up quickly. Typically, a toddler would be learning 5-6 new words each week. They are starting to hold conversations and are able to follow two step requests.
Between 18 and 24 months, your toddler vocabulary usually jumps from 50 words to 200-300! Then from 2 to 3 years, this number triples to 1000 words! At this age, they can generally communicate what they wish to say with ease.
How can you help your child develop their speech
The best tool that you may present to your child to assist in speech development is YOU!
Turn off screens, minimise background sounds and make time to read and engage in meaningful play with your children. Speech and language are learned skills. They are developed through social interaction, observation, listening, attending and through play with real people.
All these elements together are a recipe to encourage healthy development of speech and language. Stay tuned for 10 tips to assist your child in developing their speech and language skills!
Play ideas to encourage development
Animal figurines are handy for encouraging the development of different phonics through practising animal sounds.
These sounds are super fun to make and position the lips, tongue and jaw in different placement which is all transferable to the pronunciation of phonics and words.
Whistles are a useful tool to encourage tongue placement along with lip closure techniques which are important for the correct formation of specific sounds. Blowing encourages development of the muscles of the tongue, jaw, cheek and lips which all play a part in correct speech. This and a long wheeeeeeeeeeee of a whistle is a great workout for those diaphragm muscles which is important for prolonged speech. What child doesn’t LOVE a whistle anyway?!
Dani D x
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