Developmental Milestones In Infant Speech

Speech and language develop in a sequential order that most children follow. Being aware of that order will help insure your child develops appropriate speech and language skills.

Speech developmental begins at birth. Your child will soon learn that crying can bring them many things. As they grow in those first few months they begin to recognize sounds in their environment. One of the most important is the sound of their parents voice. You will notice a smile, look, or turning of the head when your child hears your voice. A natural progression in speech development occurs in any language. The best environment for this is one filled with language, songs, sights, and sounds.

The most rapid and intense period of development is between birth and three years of age. You will see your child go from only knowing how to cry to communicate to speaking in complete sentences. During the first month your child will begin to "coo" in a quiet, repetitive manner. They are practicing and enjoying a new ability and using this practice as a form of self comfort. From the first month on your child will begin to experiment with new sounds. Most will be high in pitch and loud in volume.

When you wake up in the morning and hear your little one making noises in the crib don't rush to get them up. This is a wonderful time for them to practice their developing sounds. It is also a time when they will enjoy entertaining themselves. After you do get them up play sound games with the sounds you have been listening to. Your child will love to watch your mouth and try to mimic both the shape of your mouth and the sounds you are making.



Around six months of age they will take what they have been practicing and turn it into one syllable babbles, "ma, ma, ma," "ba, ba, ba." From there the babbles turn into a nonsense speech. It has the same tone and rhythm as actual speech but no real words. By the end of the first year your child should be able to articulate a few simple words. They will not know what they mean at first but, they will soon learn as you begin to respond to them.

After the first year their language skills will seem to explode. By eighteen months your child will use between eight and ten words. At two they will be able to speak in two word sentences, "see dog." You will now begin to see an association between words, thoughts and actions. Conversations will go from you asking questions to your child pointing out things they see or asking for things they want.

As with any development, there are guidelines for what your child should be doing. If you find that your child is not accomplishing these goals seek the advice of your pediatrician.

From birth to five months your child should:

* React to loud noises

* Watch your face when you speak

* Try to mimic the shape of your mouth and your sounds

* Turn their head to the sound of your voice

* Make noises when talked to

* Vocalized pleasures and displeasures

From six to twelve months your child should:

* Try to repeat sounds you make

* Babble "ma, ma, ma"

* Understand "no-no"

* Try to communicate with actions or gestures

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