Language Delays & Disorders

Language develops along a continuum. In the earliest stages of development, babies learn to use gestural communication and social referencing as a way to gain their parent's attention. Vocalizations become filled with communicative intent and from this children map meaning onto language. Newborns make connections between sounds in their environment, such as the voice of a caretaker, and the speech sounds in their language. By age 6 months, babies recognize the basic sounds of their native language.

Language acquisition and development is based on receptive, expressive, and pragmatic functions. Receptive language skills enable a child to understand what is said or written while expressive language refers to a child's ability to generate ideas to communicate both orally and in writing. Pragmatic language refers to the verbal and non-verbal rules for social interactions. In addition to social rules and conversation, pragmatic language skills are the basis for interpreting multiple word meanings, figures of speech, and integrating information from multiple sources.

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