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Child Development Topics..

You are here : home > Child Development > Speech, Language, Hearing and Vision > Development of Speech and Hearing in Children

Development of Speech and Hearing in Children

Development of Speech and Hearing in Children

Development of Speech and Hearing

- By Mrs. Maya M Sanghi (Audiologist and Speech Pathologist)

A baby is in a continuous learning phase. The developmental milestones in the baby are as a result of continuous learning process. Development of speech and hearing is essentially a complex learning process. A baby is able to communicate effectively by learning from his immediate environment. Speech and hearing processes are interrelated. Communication skills are very important for the overall development of the child. An introduction to speech and hearing will help you to understand more about this complex process, read on.

The development of speech and language is an ongoing process, beginning at birth. The period from 0-5 years is recognised as important for all aspects of development in a child, including hearing, language and speech. Every month, the baby matures in each of these three interwoven areas, and gradually learns the skills of communication with the help of those around him. The development of communication skills is essential for every child’s emotional, social and intellectual growth. 

The acquisition of language is an extraordinarily complex process though it may seem that babies develop speech naturally and without much effort.  Some parents may not realise the importance of their role in helping their child develop adequate communication skills 

Developmental skills such as crawling, sitting, standing and walking seem to occur without much help. However, the child must be taught to talk by his parents and by the other adults around him. Without the right kind of help at the right time, the child may learn communication skills late, inappropriately, or not at all. 

If parents can familiarise themselves with the process of communication development, they can offer great help in this important aspect of growth and development. To achieve this end, we begin by listing down the pre-requisites for normal development of speech and language.

Normal Hearing

Speech and language is acquired primarily through hearing. The maturation of a child’s hearing occurs systematically in the early months and the child gradually learns to comprehend the spoken language. The presence of adult speech in the environment stimulates the development of speech and language. Therefore it is essential that a child is born with normal hearing sensitivity and develops good listening habits.

Stimulating Environment

A stimulating environment, i.e., an environment that provides adequate verbal interaction with family members and peers, is vital for a child’s speech and language development.

Normal Intelligence

To acquire language, a child must have optimum mental capacity to reason, to make associations and generalisations, and to store items in his memory. 

Normal Coordination of Body Movements

Since speech is a very rapid and complex motor act; it requires finely tuned neurological regulation and normal coordination of body movements controlled by the brain.

Normal Functioning of speech mechanism: - Normal structures and functioning of The lips , tongue, palate and voice box (larynx)  should be structurally normal and also function optimally, that is each of these should be able to move appropriately and with age appropriate finesse.

Adequate Physical and Emotional Health

Adequate physical and emotional health of the child is necessary to support the growth of language. Physical and emotional illnesses can affect, restrict and distort relationships with family members.

A number of communicative disorders are known to result if any of the above pre-requisites are not fulfilled. A variety of factors could prevent the availability of these pre-requisites. However, timely intervention can prevent the limiting effects of such disorders. 

If your child does not understand spoken speech and is not able to express age appropriately, check for the above prerequisites. Consult an Audiologist and Speech – Language Pathologist without much delay.

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Misha Grewal
Misha Grewal.7 years ago
Brain development is greatly affected by speech and hearing development and so is the development of intelligence. this article is very helpful
Gabrielle.7 years ago
Rightly said. Any disorder can only be detected if we know the basics of speech and hearing development. This article is just a step towards that direction.
Dev burman
Dev burman.7 years ago
nice information on development of speech and hearing problems in kids. any speech or hearing disorder can be properly understood by knowing the basics.
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