Posts Tagged ‘autism research’

Typical Communication Development 18 months to 3 years

Typical Communication Development from 18 months to Three Years Old and Related Red FlagsThe focus of this blog is to provide an overview of typical communication development for young children from 18 months to three years old, as well as pointing out behaviors that could be a red flag for a delay or a disorder at which point you would seek help from your pediatrician and/or a pediatric SLP.As I have discussed when speaking about development from birth to 18 months, children’s communication skills are divided into areas of development that include how they gesture and imitate adults’ actions (i.e., non-verbal skills), what they hear, what they understand (i.e., receptive skills), what they say (i.e., expressive skills), the sounds they make (i.e., articulation), their ability to move their mouths and oral articulators, such as their tongue or jaw (i.e., oral-motor skills), respiration coordination, their voice and fluency skills. All of these skills develop and work together to allow the children to become independent and successful communicators. If any of these skills are delayed and developing in an atypical manner, it can disrupt a child’s successful communication development.On average, children who are 18 months are using approximately 50 true words and up to 300 words by 2 years old (although there can be a range of 100 words to 500 words that fall within normal limits). Around 18 months children begin combining words and using 2-word phrases so that by 3 years old they’re using consistent 3-5 word phrases for a variety of purposes, such as to request, to name, to comment, to question, to give directions, and to negate or contradict what has been said. They still understand much more than they say and understand new words daily, as well as categories, descriptions, location words, questions, and lengthier sentences. Between the ages of 2 to 3, the communication usually becomes richer, more complex, and abstract so that the child is no longer talking about what is right in front of him but can tell you about his experiences that happened to him or what may happen in the future. He’s more curious about his extended environment and makes associations with things he sees at the moment with things he learned about or experienced before.  He changes his voice so that a parent can differentiate between when he makes statements, asks questions, makes commands, or when he’s confused, needs help or needs comforting. Although he may repeat himself often or repeat words (that sound like a stutter), his speech is generally fluent and his speech sounds are becoming clearer so that by age 3 he is intelligible even to unfamiliar people. Also, his pretend play becomes more creative and elaborate so that his language is used for acting out his imagination and goes beyond just getting his wants and needs met.If by 3 years old the child is not expressing himself clearly so that most people understand when he speaks about a familiar topic, or if the child stutters more often than just occasionally repeating whole words and is frequently repeating sounds and syllables, or if a child isn’t improving in his ability to understand what is said to him or express himself to his fullest potential, it may be time to seek a pediatric SLP for a speech-language evaluation. Parents must remember the range of communication skills is great and highly dependent on many factors. The amount a child understands and uses language can be affected by gender, with girls typically being more talkative with bigger vocabularies than boys. It can also be affected by siblings, birth order, bilingual or multilingual homes, life experiences, and cultural expectations to name a few influences.However, if a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, or a pediatrician strongly suspect that the child’s communication skills may be delayed or are interfering with his growth, then an evaluation can both rule out any disorder that may be causing it as well as provide suggestions for building those communication skills.

The Intuitive Nature of the iPad for Toddlers

Arguably, the iPad is the greatest invention of our time.  It is revolutionizing the way we live, learn, work and play.  And our kids, from a very young age, are exposed to technology with seemingly effortless mastery, as anyone that has witnessed a two year old pick up a hand held device and operate it with the ease of an engineer, can attest.   Why do kids intuitively seem to understand these technologies, have they been “hardwired” differently than generations before them, or is it a natural progression of learning?  Are iPad’s the developmental equivalent of building blocks and toy trains?

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