Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Baby Talk

I am doing a training session this weekend for the lovely Shelley Ensor of Little Signers Club. She has new trainee baby sign teachers and I am going to look at the development of communication in babies and toddlers with them. You might think that not a lot goes on in this time.... do they say much before 2? You would however, be mis-guided if you thought that, as there is so much that happens. Babies are pre-wired for communication but need stimulation to trigger the necessary brain connections. Babies are born innately sociable and from a few weeks old are learning the social rules of communication e.g. turn taking.
Babies first develop their understanding of language before they can begin to try to use any words.  The process involves moving from babble to

  • Learning that words have meaning  e.g. learning about the names of objects through repetition in everyday routines
  • Using single words
  • Joining words together
  • Putting words together in the right order
  • Developing the social rules that apply to language  
Children develop at different rates:   

Stages of language and communication development  

Age range
Listening and attention
Up to 3 months
·    Turns towards a familiar sound

· May show excitement at familiar sounds, for example noises in kitchen, familiar voices or toys (rattle)

3 - 6 months
·    Watches face when someone talks
· Shows excitement at sound of approaching voices
6 - 12 months
·    Looks about in search of speaker

· Understands frequently used words such as ‘all gone’ ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’.
12 - 15 months
·    Enjoys sound making toys/objects
· Understands simple instructions e.g. ‘Kiss mummy’ ‘give to daddy’ ‘stop’.

Age range
Speech sounds and talk
Social skills
Up to 3 months
· Makes random speech sounds e.g. cooing, gurgling.

· Makes eye contact for fairly long periods

3 - 6 months
· Babbles to self using mainly vowels sounds, but some consonant sounds are present ‘e-e, oee, aarh, deeh’

· Cries in a different way to express different needs

6 - 12 months
· Uses gestures such as waving and pointing to help communicate
· Enjoys action rhymes and songs
12 - 15 months
· Can say around 10 single words.
· Likes watching adults for short periods of time.

It's fascinating and a fantastic achievement yet mostly we take it for granted. I'm looking forwards to Saturday to be able to share the insight!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Great post Libby! From a baby signing point of view, many parents laugh at me when I say they should start signing with their babies from a very young age - but I've seen first hand how much very young babies have to say!

  2. Thank you for your comment Jen. I wish more people could see the benefits. It's a fantastic vehicle for interaction as well as other things but we need to do more research so certain influential bodies can see the validity. I think that needs to be a project soon!