March 2022 Newsletter – Speech and Language Development: Elements of Speech and Language Development

Elements of Speech and Language Development

Communication is a complicated process.  When you think about it, there are a number of spots in the process of communicating an idea where something could go amiss.

The process begins with generating a thought or idea that you want to communicate. You then have to pick the correct words and use them accurately and in an order that another person can understand you. The listener must be able to recognize the word and know its meaning in order to comprehend your request or idea.

Let’s dig into this a bit more.  There are three elements of speech and language development:

  • Speech is the act of producing the sounds that make up the words we use. Speech requires a coordinated effort of muscle movements and airflow through the vocal cords to create the sounds of words.
  • Expressive language refers to the ability to communicate thoughts using words, signs, or gestures. It includes the ability to retrieve the words to convey our message and organize them in a way that is understandable using grammar and sentence structure.
  • Receptive language refers to the ability to comprehend the messages that are communicated to us. It includes the ability to properly receive messages and recall the meaning of words we hear and the gestures we see.

Together, these elements help us to engage with others and make our way through the world.

Children can have delays in one of these skills or multiple areas at the same time. While children develop at their own pace, there may be a time when you have concerns about a child’s speech and language development. In such cases, it is important to reflect on the well-established developmental milestones to be sure your expectations align with child development principles.  For example, not all letter sounds develop at the same time, meaning children may produce some sounds clearly, while other sounds are still developing.

Think “pasgetti” – the oral motor muscles required to make the G and the T sounds develop earlier than the SP sound.

When a delay in development is suspected or documented through developmental screening tools, a referral to early intervention services is warranted. When early intervention strategies are implemented early, more of the window of opportunity is available for children to develop new skills.

For the main article Speech and Language Development, CLICK HERE

For the article Speech and Language Development Milestones, CLICK HERE

For the article Promoting Speech and Language Development, CLICK HERE

For the article Augmentative and Alternative Communication Tools, CLICK HERE