Communication Development in Children
Communication development can be described as the act of making children acquire significant communication skills that they can use to express themselves. These skills include the ability to interpret and use verbal and non-verbal means of communication to understand an oral message. Communication is essential at any sphere of human existence, especially in social interactions. Communication at a tender age is significant means to assure parents that their children have develop adequately for their age. Therefore, their communication skills need to be enhanced from the first years of life. Thus, there are a number of factors that explain the reason for communication development in children. Although children grow in different environments, they need to communicate to achieve proper cognitive growth. For instance, in case of Tom, a 20-month-old male child, he should be assisted to acquire perceptual and psychological processing capabilities that would help speech development. This article focuses on some significant strategies that parents can use to support language development of their children at an early age.
The knowledge of human communication is significant to facilitate children’s speech development. At the age of 20 months, it can be assumed that Tom can use his communication skills in various ways to interact with the parents. He can also use them to establish some social interactions. Buckley pointed out that at this age children are fascinated by their peers. Therefore, for an efficient interaction with peers, children need possess some significant communication skills. At the same time, children tend to develop some conversational skills. For instance, they acquire an ability to signal an intention to communicate to a partner in a comprehensive manner, as well as an ability to be a speaker and a listener and take turns effectively. In addition, children at this age also have an ability to recognize when communication goes wrong and correct it. They can also respond reciprocally to a wide range of signals that their peers use in communication.Therefore, Tom can be presumed to possess these abilities at his age.
There are also some internal and external factors that can influence communication development in children. Some of the environmental factors include the need to acquire an appropriate relationship with caregivers so that they are motivated to give a useful feedback; the necessity to interact with adults and learn how to communicate by listening to a spoken language; and development of a sense of understanding. They also should be provided with an opportunity to play by having access to such items as toys, animals, books and other objects in their environment. This aspect assists them in the establishment of cognition, social understanding and the language. Therefore, Tom’s parents, who are his immediate environment, play a significant role in ensuring that their son adopts necessary communication abilities. The play items are not only meant to enhance the child’s verbal communication, but also non-verbal communication.
According to Gardner-Neblett and Gallagher, child’s brain usually experiences some rapid development and lays foundation for learning during the initial stages of his/her life. Therefore, interaction children have with their parents and other adults has an influence on how they grow and learn. Parents are also the first people to influence the development of their children because they are the first people to interact with them. For instance, Tom’s parents have the prime opportunity to support and provide their child with the best language and communication skills.
Basing on the theory of nature and nurture in language development, it is evident that most children usually acquire the language spoken by their parents and pass it to next generations. Therefore, it is vital to note that the role of nature and nurture also influences language. Rathus also pointed out that parents serve as models of social cognitive perception. In Tom’s context, I would advise that every word the parents should reflect some new words and ideas every time they speak to him, which can be beneficial to the child and his communication development.
Rathus (2011) explained further that the learning theory does not make a child at this tender age a perfect communicator. In Tom case, there are still some aspects of language that need gradual development. Overregularization is one of them. Rathus described it as the presentation of grammatical rules for forming variations to unequal verbs and nouns. This point explains why the learning theory of nature and nurture cannot account for the dynamic sequence of communication development and language acquisition. However, parents can still develop a habit of talking to their child regularly. Thus, it would provide him/her with an input of language, which can be used as a model for speaking. In addition, the more parents talk to their children, the more they grasp the language and enhance their speech capabilities.
Giving a child an opportunity to express himself/herself is another crucial strategy that Tom’s parents can use to facilitate language acquisition of their child. Thus, they can allow Tom participate in some activities, such as singing. This would give him a sense of belonging and make him feel confident in expressing himself. Apart from that, whenever Tom depicts such behaviors, the parents should nurture it. This aspect will assist Tom in future when he will interact with his peers and teachers after joining school and other facilities, like a nursery school playground.
Tom’s parents can also consider engaging him in musical activities. They can achieve this by ensuring that they incorporate all their daily routines with musical activities that amuse the child. These musical aspects usually help kids to recognize and be aware of some of the sounds that are found in speech. Therefore, it enhances their listening skills by giving them an opportunity to listen to words used in songs. This activity is not only significant at home, but also can be used by teachers at school. According to some of the research conducted on music, it was discovered that music enhances communication ability in children.
Another critical strategy that can be adopted by Tom’s parents to develop speech and language skills for their child is reading books. Gardner-Neblett and Gallagher have acknowledged that reading books to children word-by-word is one of the most efficient strategies, which gives young children an opportunity to develop language skills. It is because books contain some unique words that children rarely hear. These words are usually accompanied by some illustrations that explain the meaning of the vocabulary. Therefore, parents can use such books that have some colorful illustrations bright enough to attract the child.
On the other hand, emphasizing the activities that capture children’s attention is another essential opportunity to support language development in children. Most children at approximately 20-24 months age are usually curious about the world around them. Tom’s parents can take an advantage of this natural curiosity and maximize it so that the child develops his communications skills. Therefore, the vocabulary induced at such circumstances will assist the child in developing efficient language memory. Research has shown that kids are more likely to learn and memorize the objects they are most interested in than those they are not. Therefore, children whose parents emphasize their points of interest tend to have more developed speech than those whose parents are less tolerant to their kids’ interests.
I also experienced a similar scenario with my sister, who is currently 6 years old. When she was 20-months-old, she loved birds, and whenever she saw a bird, she used to flap her arms to communicate the idea of a bird. At any point, even when watching television, she would point at a bird and try to murmur some words. I came to an understanding that before children learn to pronounce their first words, they mostly rely on gestures to let adults know what they want. On such occasions, I would see my mother shifting attention to birds as well as the topic. Therefore, talking about birds at that time also made my sister learn some skills and utter some phrases. The same strategy can be suggested to Tom’s parents to assist him in pronunciation of some phrases.
It is also essential to explain to Tom’s parents that the use of technology and video that enhance speech development is necessary. This aspect would assist Tom in mastering language, especially when he joins nursery school. Statistics shows that children have different levels of language development, even those with some element of autism. Some of them have difficulties in the production of phrases, a condition that has been termed as echolalia speech. In Tom’s case, parents can use video products that enhance linguistic developments of a child. They can also consider using video products for young children aimed at assistance in learning the alphabet and numbers. These video products will also help Tom improve his language through hindrances by aiming at different modes of language representation. The usage of video products and digital tools proved to be a successful method that most parents are urged to use in supporting the learning process of their children. Children learn a lot and enjoy some of the features of video products. The constant use of such products will make a child have some confidence about learning. The use of assistive technology for children is crucial as it facilitates the possibility of learning a new language and thus new communication skills. Therefore, Tom’s parents can be urged to continue utilizing video products as they will be significant in the communication development of their child.
There are some language development milestones displayed by children at various stages. For instance, at the end of their third month, most children tend to smile when they see their parents and cry in different tones to signify various needs. When they reach 6 months, they tend to make some gurgling sounds when they are playing, and they are most attentive when listening to music. This communication gets enhanced at the end of their 18th month because they are able to utter a few words. By the end of 18 months, it can be presumed that Tom was in a position to interpret simple gestures. Therefore, his parents might be advised to use gestures to improve his communication skills. They might expect that by the time he turns 24 months, he will be able to utter some simple phrases, such as “more juice”. According to Mayo Clinic Staff, at the completion of 24 months, a child should be able to utter approximately 50 phrases.
In conclusion, having critically examined some of the elements that are significant to enhance children communication, Tom’s parents will be able to support their child’s communication development. The combination of some environmental, internal and technological factors can be used to enhance communication in an infant. Assisting a child in developing an effective communication is a gradual process that requires a keen observation of various responses from the child. Therefore, parents play a significant role in supporting their children language development. If the suggested strategies are put in use by Tom’s parents, it will help their 20-month child to acquire the fundamental elements of successful communication. Thus, they should ensure that they monitor their child’s performance regularly to be certain of what they should do at a given time. Providing him with some technological assistance software and video would make their work easier because technology helps a child to recognize objects. They should also understand that the more explicit language they use in communication, the more their child remembers the vocabulary.