caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be dueto a speech or language disorder.
What is the difference between a speechdisorder and a language disorder?
Children who have trouble understanding what otherssay (receptive language) or difculty sharing theirthoughts (expressive language) may have a languagedisorder. Specifc language impairment (SLI) is a languagedisorder that delays the mastery o language skills. Somechildren with SLI may not begin to talk until their third orourth year.Children who have trouble producing speech soundscorrectly or who hesitate or stutter when talking mayhave a speech disorder. Apraxia o speech is a speechdisorder that makes it difcult to put sounds andsyllables together in the correct order to orm words.
How do speech and language develop?
The frst 3 years o lie, when the brain is developingand maturing, is the most intensive period or acquiringspeech and language skills. These skills develop best ina world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistentexposure to the speech and language o others.There appear to be critical periods or speech andlanguage development in inants and young childrenwhen the brain is best able to absorb language. I thesecritical periods are allowed to pass without exposure tolanguage, it will be more difcult to learn.
What are the milestones for speech andlanguage development?
The frst signs o communication occur when aninant learns that a cry will bring ood, comort, andcompanionship. Newborns also begin to recognizeimportant sounds in their environment, such as thevoice o their mother or primary caretaker. As theygrow, babies begin to sort out the speech sounds thatcompose the words o their language. By 6 months oage, most babies recognize the basic sounds o theirnative language.Children vary in their development o speech andlanguage skills. However, they ollow a naturalprogression or timetable or mastering the skills olanguage. A checklist o milestones or the normaldevelopment o speech and language skills in childrenrom birth to 5 years o age is included on the ollowingpages. These milestones help doctors and other healthproessionals determine i a child is on track or i he orshe may need extra help. Sometimes a delay may be
NIDCD Fact Sheet
Speech and LanguageDevelopmental Milestones
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What are voice, speech, and language?
Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use tocommunicate with each other.
is the sound we make as air rom our lungs ispushed between vocal olds in our larynx, causingthem to vibrate.
is talking, which is one way to express language.It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions othe tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce therecognizable sounds that make up language.
is a set o shared rules that allow people toexpress their ideas in a meaningul way. Language may beexpressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making othergestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.