Language Development

Language development is such an important piece in the realm of childhood development, but it is often overlooked and sometimes taken for granted.  Unless a child has a known disability, they will begin to speak when they are ready. I hear phrases like this so often from parents as well as Doctors.  While this is definitely true, it is not always better to take a “wait and see” approach.

Keep in mind that language development is more than simply saying words and sentences.  Language development can be broken down into two categories:

Receptive Language

Receptive language refers to the ability to understand language.  In most cases a child will need to understand language before they will speak.  Understanding refers to the understanding of:

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  • phrases/sentences
  • directions
  • questions
  • reading

Expressive Language

Expressive language refers to spoken language.  This includes:

  • words/labeling
  • sentence formation (grammar)
  • describing a sequence of events
  • asking questions
  • writing

Language skills begin developing before a child is ready to talk.  Some of the foundation skills include:

  • play
  • gesturing
  • attention
  • motivation

This was a very brief overview of language development.  This site is meant to provide parenting tips and how to promote language and learning through play.  If you feel that your child is not progressing as would be expected for his/her age please contact a registered Speech-Language Pathologist in your area!


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