0413508522
PHONE:

0413 508 522

EMAIL: 

info@learn-and-grow.com.au

PADDINGTON ADDRESS:

30 Fernberg Road

Paddington QLD 4064

NUNDAH ADDRESS:

Suite 9, Nundah Central

1208 Sandgate Road

Nundah QLD 4012

TOOWONG ADDRESS:

89 Sherwood Road

Toowong QLD 4066

Milestones of Communication Development

0 – 12 months

shutterstock_244033930Learning language is a lifelong process. Before a baby even learns how to talk, they learn the foundation communication skills that underpin language. A baby learns how to connect and take turns by copying their care givers facial expressions, movements and sounds. They learn that their caregiver is responsive to them and that communication has a purpose. Early interactions with caregivers are an important step in supporting language development throughout childhood.

As the muscles of the mouth and face grow and develop, babies will begin experimenting with sounds. Babbling describes the stage in development when a baby begins to experiment with using and combining speech sounds. For example, babies will begin to combine consonant and vowel sounds such as ‘mamama’ or ‘bababa’. Babbling is an important stage in development and should be encouraged and praised by parents. Babbies who are very quiet and rarely babble may be at risk of hearing difficulties and communication delay. Advice from a general practitioner or Speech Pathologist is recommended for these children.

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

red_flag

  • My child doesn’t babble or play with sounds like other children.
  • My child doesn’t respond or connect like other babies. 
  • My child is delayed in other developmental milestones.
  • My child has not had their hearing tested.

12 – 18 months

At this age, children will become increasingly skilled at using their shutterstock_106791110face, body and gestures to communicate and get their message across. They will also communicate for a variety of purposes such as greeting, objecting, requesting and commenting. Their understanding of language and ability to follow simple directions such as ‘push the bus’, ‘kiss the baby’ will also be developing. First words such as ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘bye bye’ will emerge and will be used with purpose and meaning. They may become more interested in books and will begin pointing to pictures and imitating their parents’ speech.

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

red_flag

  • My child doesn’t babble or say any words.
  • My child doesn’t use body language and gesture to communicate.
  • My child doesn’t respond or connect like other babies. 
  • My child is delayed in other developmental milestones.

18 months – 2 years

As your child gets closer to 2 years of age, their vocabulary will seemingly ‘explode’ with new words. The typical 2 year old will know between 50 and 100 words and will be working towards stringing them together to make short, two word ‘noun-verb’ sentences such as ‘baby sleep’, ‘more milk’. The muscles of the face and mouth are still developing and are not quite ready to make the rapid, precise movements required for clear speech. As a result, a 2 year old will typically have many errors in their speech development and may often be difficult to understand.

Your child’s understanding of language will also rapidly develop during this time. He or she will point to pictures or body parts when you name them, will start to follow simple directions (‘don’t touch, it’s hot!’) and will understand simple questions (‘where’s the doggy?’). Your child will love listening to stories, songs and nursery rhymes and will enjoy hearing them many times over.

Pretend play development also begins to emerge during this time. A child will begin to use ‘pretending’ in their play by acting out simple, everyday actions that adults do such as talking on a toy phone or feeding their doll. By 2 years of age, they will begin playing with dolls as if they are real by feeding them, washing them and putting them to bed. Your child will begin enjoying pretending to play different roles themselves like pretending to drive a car, or pretending to be a baby and go to sleep.

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

red_flag

  • My child is 2 years old and only knows a few words.
  • My child doesn’t connect or use eye contact like other kids.
  • My child doesn’t use any pretending in their play.
  • My child doesn’t respond consistently to their name or simple directions.

2 – 3 years

Between the ages of 2 – 3 years of age, children experience a tremendous growth shutterstock_250106032spurt in their use of language. As a child approaches 2 ½ years, their vocabulary may increase to up to 300 words. They will begin to use words and language over pointing and gesture to communicate. By 3 years of age, a child will string together three to four-word sentences such as ‘mummy more milk please’. A 3 year old will begin using language more freely to engage in simple question-answer conversations. They will recall their first and last name, count up to three objects correctly, and begin to tell short stories about their personal experiences.

By 3 years, a child’s understanding of concepts (such as ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘under’) will be increasing, along with their ability to remember and follow multiple-step directions such as ‘get your socks and put them in the basket’. Speech also develops rapidly during this period. While many errors may typically still be present, around 75% of your child’s speech will be intelligible to an unfamiliar listener by the age of 3 years. Excessive druelling and mouthing /chewing behaviours at this age may indicate immature development of the oral musculature. Referral to a Speech Pathologist and/or Occupational therapist is recommended to further develop the muscles for speech.

Your child’s play will become increasingly more imaginative and flexible. They may use objects for different purposes, such as using a shoe as a phone or a boat. By 3 years old, children will be able to take on many roles in play and will act out simple stories such as tea parties, dinosaur battles and fairy castles. Children begin playing associatively with their peers and will use language to talk through their play sequences (actions).

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

red_flag

  • My child is 3 years old and rarely uses sentences.
  • My child sounds different to other kids and struggles to communicate clearly.
  • My child doesn’t connect or play like other kids.
  • My child doesn’t respond consistently to directions, simple questions or conversation.

3 – 4 years

shutterstock_95571682During this stage of development, your child’s language and communication will become increasingly more clear and mature. Sentences are becoming longer as your child learns how to combine four or more words together. Grammatical errors (such as errors in verb tense and pronouns) may still be present. He or she will enjoy talking about their experiences at pre-school, outings and with friends. They will understand and respond to simple ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions, will begin to make simple predictions ‘what might happen next?’ and may respond to simple ‘why’ questions such as ‘why is the doggy all muddy?’.

Speech production will become clearer and unfamiliar people will understand most of what your child says. Pretend play will involve more elaborate stories that may not be within the child’s direct experience. Toys and characters in play will be given a voice and will engage in sequenced actions that have a clear ending or goal. Children will enjoy involving peers in their play and will begin using language to direct and negotiate play actions.

Stuttering commonly emerges around 3 – 5 years of age. Stuttering is not part of typical development and should be monitored closely. Speech therapy may not be required, but advice from a Speech Pathologist is recommended for all children who demonstrate stuttering behaviours during development.

Persistent vocal hoarseness is also not a part of typical development and may indicate the presence of a voice disorder (such as vocal nodules). Advice from a Speech Pathologist is recommended. Referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist may be indicated.

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

  • red_flagMy child only uses short simple sentences.
  • My child sounds different to other kids and struggles to communicate clearly.
  • My child doesn’t connect or play like other kids and has difficulty making friends.
  • My child doesn’t respond consistently to directions, simple questions or conversation.
  • My child has a hoarse voice or stutter.

4 – 5 years

By this stage, a child will use longer, more detailed sentences and will speak in a clear and fluent way. He or she will use joining words (such as ‘but’, ‘because’, ‘so’) to form more complex sentence structures: ‘we went to the park because the shop was closed.’ By 5 years old, a child will tell long, imaginative stories that stick to the topic and have a beginning, middle and end. He or she will understand and answer more complex questions that require them to generate their own thoughts and ideas about a topic. For example, questions that require problem solving (‘what should we do?’), predicting (‘what will happen if…?’), and reasoning (‘why can’t…?’) will develop by 5 years old and will support a child’s ability to engage and experience success in the prep classroom. By 5 years of age, a child’s speech is relatively error free and able to be understood 100% of the time by unfamiliar listeners. During this time, a ‘lisp’ (difficulty articulating ‘s’) will resolve, while difficulty using the ‘r’, ‘v’ and/or ‘th’ sound may still be present.

Prep-readiness becomes an important focus at this age. In order to succeed in the prep classroom, a child must have a sufficient ability to understand and use language, to communicate clearly about their thoughts and ideas, and have appropriate attention and focus. Children who struggle to sit still and engage in structured activities for a sustained period of time may require additional support from an Occupational Therapist (OT). Concerns with fine motor and gross motor skills can also be addressed by an OT.

shutterstock_183037556Appropriate development of play and social skills is also important for a child to develop before they commence prep. By the age of 5 years, true cooperative play emerges. Play sequences become more elaborate, organised and logical. As play scripts begin to involve problem situations and endings or resolutions, children practice using language to direct, negotiate and problem solve with their peers. Children learn how to consider the thoughts and feelings of other people as they quite literally put themselves in another person’s shoes during role play. Pretend play is important for the development of social skills, problem solving and critical thinking skills, the understanding of emotions and behaviour, and for developing empathy and perspective taking.

Red Flags that require advice from a Speech Pathologist:

  • red_flagMy child rarely uses long or complex sentences.
  • My child sounds different to other kids and struggles to communicate clearly.
  • My child struggles to make friends and often plays alone.
  • My child doesn’t always understand and respond appropriately to directions, questions or conversation.
  • My child has a hoarse voice or stutter.