If children cannot develop normal speech and language, this can lead to later disorders. In addition to delayed speech development, speech and language disorders can manifest themselves in stammering, rumbling and stuttering. In order to be able to give an assessment of speech development, pediatricians, ear, nose and throat doctors, psychologists, pedagogues and speech therapists orientate themselves on stages of speech development that have arisen from experience.
Language is an important means of communication for us humans. A normal language development begins approximately in the second month of life with “babbling” and is completed at the age of seven with a completed language acquisition. Vocabulary, style, pronunciation and sentence length are naturally expanded and refined as the child grows up.
The table gives an orienting overview of the children’s language development. It is the result of years of observation. Deviations are individually different and do not necessarily represent an abnormality!
- From the 2nd month: babble = first vowels, screaming sounds
- From the 8th month: Repeating attempts and some comprehension
- From 1st year: First words
- With 1,5 years: Two-word sentences “da Mama”
- With 3 years: Multiword phrases “go to grandma’s today
- From 4 years: Grammatically correct sentences, pronunciation sometimes still incorrect
- With 7 years: Language acquisition completed, primary school maturity
Normal speech development requires a functioning system of several organs. Facial muscles, tongue, jaw and teeth, larynx and vocal chords, brain, breathing and abdominal muscles must work together in a coordinated manner to ensure normal speech development. If there is damage in one of these organs (e.g. macroglossia = too large a tongue; paraplegia in spina bifida), speech development can be difficult and delayed. Due to the many causes of delayed or incorrect speech development, various specialists are involved in the search for the cause (etiology). These include above all pediatricians, child and adolescent psychiatrists, ENT specialists, neurologists and speech therapists (speech therapists).