The speech development of the child from 1 month to 3 years

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Common knowledge about language development in early childhood focuses on the aspects of production, that is, what the child says.



In reality, what the child can say is the manifestation of the maturation of many other skills:

  • listening and discrimination of sounds and words,
  • motor and practice skills,
  • cognitive and affective development.

Language cannot develop harmoniously and competently without the presence of the skills just described.

In the last 10-15 years a lot of research has been done to find useful references for an early identification of risk factors and we can say with certainty already at the age of 24 months when a child has a too poor linguistic level (Late Tolker) and therefore that it needs a periodic monitoring (every 3-4 months) that tells if the skills tend to normalize (Late Bloomer), or if it needs a rehabilitation intervention (Specific Language Disorder).



In this article

 



  • Little tips,
  • Language development based on ages

Little tips

For a correct language stimulationContrary to what one might think, it is more useful to encourage the child to listen to language than to produce words.



To do this it is good to speak with a rhythm slow and well articulated, but natural. The use of language by the adult who is with the child should be contextual, i.e. with continuous references to what is happening around and verbalizing as much as possible what is being done or what will happen immediately after, at least up to 2 years and a half.

Towards the age of 3, the child is able to use language also in reference to distant experiences in time and space.

An activity very suitable for stimulating listening and which at the same time can prove useful in stimulating the production of new words in the child is the reading books simple that show brief routines typical of the life of the little ones (bedtime, baby food, bath) possibly accompanied by simple and well-defined illustrations that allow the child to "read" the story himself.

(Read also: Speech disorders: my son speaks little and badly)

It is not recommended to ask to repeat the words with the sole purpose of making them pronounce perfectly; that is it's not useful to improve language skills in a broad sense and risks becoming a very unwelcome modality to the child and could trigger rejection mechanisms.

Read also: Baby verses change the language of parents

Language development based on ages

Age: 1 month

WHAT IT CAN DO:

  • Distinguishes sounds with different acoustic characteristics and produced by different speakers (Jusczyk, Pisoni)
  • Interested in faces

BEHAVIOR:

  • It reacts to noises / voices by stopping its activity
  • He turns his gaze towards the source
  • He cries
  • Look who is in front of him

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If it seems not to react to noises
  • Absence of vocality
  • Absence of crying
  • Absence of eye contact

Age: 2-4 mesi

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Distinguish voices
  • smiles
  • Moves mouth and throat better

BEHAVIOR:

  • Begin to direct your head towards the sound source
  • Reacts to mom / dad's voice
  • It emits verses

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If it seems not to react to the noises and voices
  • No vocality

Age: 4 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Begins to recognize the sounds of the tongue
  • Social smile

BEHAVIOR:

  • The vocalizations begin as a manifestation of maturation of the verbal aspects, the child listens to himself / herself and feels pleasure
  • Smiles at people you know

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If he seems not to react to rumors
  • If it does not emit vocals
  • No smile / amimia.

Age: 6 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • The system specializes in the sounds of the language and identifies them better

BEHAVIOR:

  • The lallation begins with the sounds of the language. The child listens to himself / herself and feels pleasure
  • The child produces repeated syllables with the same consonant (canonical lallation)
  • The moments of whining can be very prolonged, even 20-30 minutes

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • Failure to bale within 12 months.

Age: 9-12 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Motor and articulatory skills of language mature thanks to new food experiences (solid foods)
  • Intentional verbal communication begins
  • Social gestures appear
  • Understands contextual language

BEHAVIOR:

  • Varied babbling: the child produces repeated syllables with different consonants
  • He points to ask
  • Or to share an interest
  • The words mom, dad, baby food appear
  • Waves hello
  • Send kisses
  • Look at the object / person being referred to
  • It reacts when called by name

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • Failure to bale within 12 months
  • Very poor whining.

Age: 12 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Use language intentionally
  • Mainly articulates nasal (m, n) and occlusive (p, b, t, d, c dura) sounds

BEHAVIOR:

  • Indicates to ask or to share an interest
  • First words (0 to 10)
  • Different gestures and onomatopoeic words

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • Failure to bale within 12 months.

Age: 12-18 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Gradual expansion of the vocabulary

BEHAVIOR:

  • The child is therefore able to say or repeat words and not words of his own language
  • 10 to 100 words, mostly bisyllabic
  • Word sentence: a single word to communicate a broader meaning

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If the child at 18 months produces fewer than 15 words (transition from lallation to the lexical stage).

Age: 18-20 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Expansion of the vocabulary
  • Attempts to imitate and repeat what they hear are increasing
  • Understanding of language (more than 200 words)

BEHAVIOR:

  • 80 to 130 words
  • They repeat the words they hear
  • Appearance of combinatorics (two words matched) Eg: mother tutu

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If you give signs that you do not understand the language.
  • For example it does not execute a request like "take what is on the table" ... "look! There is ...".

Age: 20-24 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • He begins to recognize functional linguistic contrasts specific to the language he is learning.
  • It perceives the minimum units in the sound continuum - Words (Devescovi, Caselli)
  • Use social words

BEHAVIOR:

  • Lexical explosion, in a short time the child can produce more than 100 words
  • Appearance of combinatorics (two words matched) Eg: mother tutu
  • He makes long sequences as if he were speaking while maintaining the right prosody and intonation
  • Yes, no, hello, thank you, give me, look

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If it produces less than 50 words

Age: 24-30 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Exponential lexical enrichment
  • Emergence of morpho-syntactic abilities
  • Onomatopoeic words tend to disappear and use only words

BEHAVIOR:

  • The words produced are very many (100-500)
  • Simple subject-verb sentences
  • Can make well articulated sentences with subject-verb-object
  • He asks for the name of things

WHEN TO CONSULT THE PEDIATRICIAN:

  • If it produces less than 50 words or
  • it produces more than 50, but does not combine at least two words (Late talkers).

Age 30-36 months

WHAT IT CAN DO: 

  • Exponential lexical enrichment
  • Much improved and almost complete ability to produce sounds
  • Emergence of morpho-syntactic abilities

BEHAVIOR:

  • Pronounce fricative and affricate sounds: f, s, v, ci and gi.
  • The R sound may appear.
  • The sentences are well structured and gradually become more complicated and longer.

It is necessary to underline how the stages reported, even if they refer to precise scientific sources, can be very variable from child to child, especially up to 24 months.

From 24 months onwards, the variability tends to decrease and the linguistic levels of children tend to equalize.

Around 3 4/XNUMX years XNUMX the language should be substantially structured in all its aspects: good lexical level, complete and well structured correct sentences, good production of sounds without distortions (the sounds R, Z may not yet be produced).

(Original article from June 2022)

Read also: How to enrich the language of the child

Sources for this article: 

  1. STAGES OF PRELINGUISTIC DEVELOPMENT (OLLER, 1980)

  2. PHONETIC DEVELOPMENT (according to U. Bortolini, PFLI)

  3. LEXICAL DEVELOPMENT and gesture (according to PVB, First Vocabulary of the Child, Caselli and Casadio, 1995)

For more information: 

  • My son speaks little and badly

  • His first words

  • The growth of the child, the stages from 0 to 6 years

TAG:
  • language development
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