We already know almost all babies can lip-read when aged six to twelve months, to learn their mouth-shapes for talking. At this time, babies’ brains are processing speech sounds in the part of the brain that manages motor movements for producing their own speech.
Six To Twelve Months Old
From 7 to 11 months old (the same stage as infant lip-reading is noticed), babies start to babble in preparation for talking, typically around the age of one year old.
Research suggests at this time, babies can tell if words are spoken in a native or a non-native language, with the lip-reading aspect potentially contributing to their later reading ability.
Significantly, babies who hear their own babbling, vocalise more – confirming the value of early hearing-devices for infants with hearing difficulties.
Eighteen To Thirty-Six Months Old
Toddlers’ ability to guess the meaning of new words grows from 18 to 23 months of age, with a distinct increase in this ability from 24 to 36 months of age. Linguistic context was central to the toddlers’ learning these words, as was the way in which caregivers responded.
Some families use digital recording devices to track their talk-time with children in the LENA approach, showing the reality that human contact is critical in the language-learning process.
Ii a child has undetected hearing difficulties in the first few years of their life, they will be tracking sound, rhythm, grammar, phonemes and language usage incorrectly. Sound may be muffled or the child is missing the rhythm and intonation of your language. When hearing devices are fitted however, your child should regain rhythm and intonation in their speech.
Most importantly, preschoolers (all hearing abilities) raised in spoken language-rich environments will be able to reflect on what they don’t know, as reported in Science Daily.
Their sense of their own identity will be stronger, and parents can tap this stage by teaching the value of being a helper – as in tidying toys away and helping at home.
For a preschooler who finds focus and concentration difficult, some great tactics exist to use in different settings when you need a child to give their full attention to a task.