Understanding Speech and Communication

Published on 28th July, 2019 by Dr. Sanveen Kang

Understanding Speech and Communication

Communication is an act or instance of transmitting information. It is the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. It is an essential part of life and through communication we connect with others, make our wants known, share ideas, and let other people know how we feel.

How do we communicate?

  1. Through words
  2. By listening and responding
  3. Through the use of eye contact, voice, gestures, facial expressions, body language and posture

Developmental Milestones for typical language development

  1. By 6 months: Babies first "talk" by using actions (gestures), facial expressions and noises and, these are things to look for and encourage at this.
  2. By 10 months: Babies enjoy repeating certain sounds over and over again. This is the begining of "babbling," and the baby's voice can be very tuneful and start to sound like talking. We would expect babies to be alert and listening to different sounds.
  3. By 12 months: First words start to appear. The child is making more "talking like" noises, learning that things have names and starting to use these names, making sense of their surrounding by listening, looking, feeling and, playing with objects and people.
  4. By 18 months: The child should have started to say different words and sounds and, should understand some simple questions.
  5. By 24 months: The child is using between 50-100 words. They start to use two words together and, understand simple questions and instructions.
  6. By 30 months: Children are starting to become clearer in their talking. They are using between 100-200 words, phrased speech (of 2-3 words together) and, understands easy questions and instructions.
  7. By 36 months: The child understands conversations about things that s/he is interested in, uses sentences of 3 words or more and, is understood most of the time.
  8. By 42 months: Children understand most of what is said to them and, use sentences of 4 or more words.

Apart from considering communication ability, Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) are also concerned about Speech sounds. The following are milestones to consider when evaluating your child’s speech:

  1. By 18 months a child’s speech is normally 25% intelligible.
  2. By 24 months a child’s speech is normally 50-75% intelligible.
  3. By 36 months a child’s speech is normally 75-100% intelligible.

It is important to highlight that every child has their individual progression and development trajectory. The information provides a rough guideline of what is to be expected at the different ages.

Dr. Sanveen Kang

About the Author - Dr. Sanveen Kang

Dr. Kang is a Clinical Psychologist by training and has more than 14 years of experience in treating mental and physical health issues for clients in hospitals, private practice, educational and corporate settings.

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