Development of Communication in Children

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Giana Castorani

PSYC235 Brief

It is widely recognized that communication is at the heart of child development- be it cognitive, social, emotional or behavioral (Vygotsky, 1978).Children's early communication signals consist of bodily movements, facial expressions, gestures, cries and coos. These early signals eventually become speech-like sounds, then words, and then sentences. Children develop these more adult-like and more easily recognized ways of communicating through exploring their environment, through hearing and seeing models (other people talking), through turn-taking in games, play, and talking, and by practicing. Usually by a child's first birthday, he or she may say a few clearly understood words. Most children begin putting words together around their second birthday. Children develop speech, however, at different rates. Communication development involving listening, speaking, gesturing, reading, and writing continues throughout life and requires access to all aspects of the child's world. Children’s preferences for communication with others change as they grow, and similar changes occur rapidly during the first three years of life.

Newborn babies rely on making sounds that let others know that they are experiencing pleasure or pain. From birth to three months, babies smile at parents when they come into view. They repeat the same sound a lot and "coo and goo" when content. Cries differentiate, meaning the baby uses a different cry for different situations. For example, one cry says "I'm hungry" and another says "I have a pain". From four to six months, babies are usually making gurgling sounds or engaging in vocal play when they are happily occupying themselves or being played with. At this stage babbling becomes more frequent and babies may almost sound as if they are producing actual speech as they make bilabial sounds like “p,” “b,” and “m.” Babies use gestures and sound to indicate their needs and wants and may make very urgent...
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