Monday, July 1, 2013

Language Development

I was 13 years old when my first nephew was born. He was the tiniest thing I had ever seen and not just because he was a new baby but because he was born two months early. He weighed about 4 lbs 10 oz and had the cutest little chicken legs. He is 11 years old now and I spent some time with him over the weekend. Today I was thinking about the first word and sentence I heard him say. I remember it took him a little longer to start talking because he was premature but once he started he was on a roll. The first word I heard him say, in a very deep voice I might add, was "Apple". Nearly the first thing my sister heard out of his mouth was "Chocolate Chip", in a very clear and well pronounced manner. It was so fun to see him start communicating and now he amazes me with his math solving, basketball playing, soccer loving and arm wrestling skills. 

Each child develops language skills at different rates. Some are faster and some are slower because of premature birth or other factors. There are some general guidelines to follow during the first year of a child's life to help you know how your child's language skills are coming along. These are provided by the mayo clinic. 

By the end of 3 months

By the end of three months, your child might:
  • Smile when you appear
  • Startle upon hearing loud sounds
  • Make "cooing" sounds
  • Quiet or smile when spoken to
  • Seem to recognize your voice
  • Cry differently for different needs

By the end of 6 months
Language Skills

By the end of six months, your child might:
  • Make gurgling sounds when playing with you or left alone
  • Babble and make a variety of sounds
  • Use his or her voice to express pleasure and displeasure
  • Move his or her eyes in the direction of sounds
  • Respond to changes in the tone of your voice
  • Notice that some toys make sounds
  • Pay attention to music

By the end of 12 months

By the end of 12 months, your child might:

  • Try imitating words
  • Say a few words, such as "dada", "mama" and "uh-oh"
  • Understand simple instructions, such as "come here"
  • Recognize words for common items, such as shoe
  • Turn and look in the direction of sound
  • Respond to "no"

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