Thursday, July 1, 2010

Normal Development of Receptive Language

If you are worried about your child's speech/language abilities, this is yet another great article with checklists about what the proper developmental stages for receptive language are.

Normal Development of Receptive Language
Nancy Williams, M.Sc., CCC-Sp.

What is Language?
Language is a system of symbols people use to communicate with each other.  It is one way to receive and give information.

Three systems work together to produce language:
  • The Input System - called receptive language - which takes in information through the senses
  • The output system - speaking, gesturing, or writing
  • The symbol system, which allows the input and output to work together
What is receptive language?
Receptive language is the input system of language.  It is what we see and hear and the information that we take in.  Receptive language is the comprehension of information.

Language does not improve according to age alone - it develops as one skill helps the next.  Once an early skill develops, it allows more difficult skills to be learned.  Language develops in a way similar to physical or movement skills: one stage leads to the next.  Receptive language skills begin as early as birth and get stronger with each stage in development.

Normal sequence of receptive language
A newborn baby responds to sound.  Loud or sudden sounds startle the baby.  Within weeks the baby can tell the difference between happy and angry voices.  This is seen when the baby coos in response to a pleasant voice.

Auditory perception - when the baby associates meaning with a sound source - is developing now.  At 6 months a baby looks around to find the source of a sound.  At 9 months the baby responds to "no." A 1-year-old can follow simple directions.

Here are some points in the sequence of receptive language development:

1 Month: Responds to voice

2 Months: Eyes follow movement

3 Months: Coos in response to pleasant voice

4 Months: Turns head toward source of sound

5 Months: Responds to own name

6 Months: Appears to recognize words like daddy, bye-bye, and mama

7 Months: Shows interest in sounds of objects

8 Months: Recognizes the names of some common objects

9 Months: Follows simple directions ("Find the ball." "Give me the ball.")

10 Months: Understands no and stop

11 Months: Appears to understand simple questions ("Where is the ball?")

12 Months: Recognizes names of objects, people, pets, and action verbs

13-18 Months: Understands some new words each week.
Identifies pictures in a book
Identifies a few body parts
Identifies some common objects

19-24 Months: Recognizes many common objects and pictures when named.
Understands possession ("Where's mama's shoe?")
Follows many simple directions

25-30 Months: Understands the use of objects.
Understands prepositions (in, on, off, out of, up, down)
Understands simple questions
Understands pronouns (I, me, my, mine)

31-36 Months: Listens to simple stories
Follows a two-part direction
Understands taking turns

How can I help my child?
Language stimulation can be fun!  You can do language training during your daily routine, but never insist on working if your child resists it.  Pick times when your child is eager to work - bath time and story time are natural communication times.

You don't need to reserve a special time for language; each time you stimulate language in a daily activity you help your child learn.  The quality of time you spend with your child is more important than the quantity.
Here are some things to try:

Parallel Talk:
Talk about your child's actions and those of other people.  Talk to your child when your child is playing, riding in the car, bathing, or doing any favorite activity.  This helps your child learn to connect what the child sees, hears, does, and feels with the words to describe them.

When your child speaks or points to an object, be sure to imitate the sound and then give your child the label (the name of the object).  For example, if your child points to a dog, give the label, "dog".

Monitor your speaking rate and stress:
Talk at a speed your child can understand.  You may need to talk more slowly than you usually do.  Stress the words you are teaching by saying them louder, longer, or in a high voice.  Produce your words clearly without exaggerating them too much.

Enlarge on your child's topic by adding related information to whatever your child is talking about.  If your child shows you a dog, talk about what a dog sounds like or eats.

Keep it fun!
Don't ask your child too many questions!  Comment on your child's activities, speak clearly, and provide more information.  Also, don't make your child imitate all your words.  Language stimulation should be fun, not work.

Copyright 1990 by C ommunication Skill Builders, Inc.
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