Thanks to some of the feedback I got from last’s weeks poll, I realized I needed to share more information about typical language development in my blog. Today’s post is the first one.
Although kids are all different and they reach milestones at different levels and ages, parents like to have a reference, an idea of how their child’s speech and language development is, compared to other typical developing children.
So, this week we’ll start with the beginning, babies from 0-6 months old. Now, if you haven’t noticed yet, A LOT happens during the first 6 months (and I’m not talking about the lack of sleep, help or showers! that’s another post!). I divided into expressive and receptive language because, well, speech therapists LOVE to make things more specific and break it down into different categories! Here’s what is expected to happen between 0-6 months.
- First of all, crying is babies’ ONLY way of communicating and by the time they are four weeks old, his/her cries are different. There is a unique cry for hunger, wetness, pain and boredom. Then, after a few months, they also start to coo (you know, those cute “ooo-ooo” sounds they make) and make gurgling sounds (sounds like they have water in their throats) of pleasure when left alone and when playing with you.
- How do they know to do this? Well, within three to four months, babies realize that when they make noise, people respond. When a parent or caregiver responds to a baby’s cries, the baby begins to trust his/her means of communication, because his/her needs are being met.
- Other behaviors that are expected to develop during this time are: smiling when they see you, chuckles, laughs (sometimes for no apparent reason!) and some vocalizations of excitement and displeasure.
How do we know they “understand” language? These are some of the behaviors that let us know they “understand”.
- Baby startles to loud sounds
- Quiets or smiles when spoken to
- Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying
- Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound
- Moves eyes in direction of sounds
- Responds to changes in tone of your voice
- Notices toys that make sounds
- Pays attention to music
Again, kids are all different and maybe a baby starts smiling at 2 months and another starts smiling at 4 months. However, it is expected that most (if not all) of these behaviors are seen a few times during this period. If you have any concern you can talk to your pediatrician or consult with a Speech Pathologist. You can email me too!
So, what’s your baby doing?