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That’s Easy For You to Say The Amazing Acquisition of Oral Language in Preschool Children Glenn Weybright, M. S. , CCC-SLP Oregon Branch, The International Dyslexia Association Corvallis, Oregon: Friday, February 22, 2008
What is Language? • A set of agreed-upon symbols used to send and receive messages • Symbol types: written words, pictures, spoken words, American Sign Language signs, movements of a signal flag or…. .
Language Can be Oral or Written • Oral language: receiving through hearing and sending through speech • Written language: receiving through reading and sending through spelling/writing
What is Speech? • The act of shaping air from the lungs to make sounds • One type of delivery system for the language message
Understanding and Using Oral Language • Children innately “wired” to learn to talk • No direct, deliberate teaching required
Understanding and Using Oral Language • There are language prerequisites
Prerequisites for Language Development • An intact nervous system • Adequate hearing • Exposure to the language to be learned • Interaction • Leading to…
Understanding and Using Oral Language • By age five years, the typically-developing child has mastered the essentials of language and is able to communicate with adults
Oral Language Components • Receptive language • Expressive language • Articulation/Phonology • Fluency • Language pragmatics
Receptive Language • Language comprehension • The hidden part of the iceberg • Learning a word’s meaning receptively precedes its use expressively
Receptive Language • Auditory processing – Can refer to the act of processing: going through the required steps to decode an incoming message – Can refer to various auditory processes: auditory memory, auditory discrimination, auditory figure ground, sound localization
Receptive Language: Understanding What is Said • Receptive vocabulary • Expressive vocabulary
Receptive Language Development Highlights • 6 to 12 months: Follows line of regard. Responds to “no. ” Responds differentially to a variety of sounds. Responds to name. • 1 to 2 years: Responds to “show me the (object, picture, body part). ” Will follow one-part commands (when in the mood).
Receptive Language Development Highlights • 2 to 3 years: Will demonstrate understanding of modifiers. Will identify objects by function. Will respond to prepositions. Demonstrates understanding of pronouns.
Receptive Language Highlights • 3 to 4 years. Will follow a two-part command. Understands categories. Will identify colors and number concepts to three. Responds to more prepositions. Demonstrates understanding of adverbs.
Receptive Language Development Highlights • 4 to 5 years. Follows a three-part unrelated command. Identifies number concepts to five. Begins to understand time.
Receptive Language Development Highlights • 5 to 6 years. Understands sequence. Understands words like “half/whole, same/ different” and “if. ” Understands opposites. Phonological awareness begins: the ability to think and talk about the sounds of language.
Expressive Language: Language Use • Sentence length • Grammar and syntax • Expressive vocabulary • Sentence content
Expressive Language Highlights • 6 to 12 months. Looks at parent and then points to desired items to request • 12 months. First words.
Expressive Language Highlights • 18 months. May use 20 words. • 18 to 24 months. May use up to 50 words, begins to use 2 word phrases. • 24 months. May use 150 to 300 words.
Expressive Language Highlights • 2 to 3 years. Uses 500 words. Begins to ask questions; begins to use phrases to answer “what” questions. Begins imaginary play. Uses one or two prepositions. Begins to learn pronouns “me, I, my, mine. ” • 3 years. Is using on average 3 to 4 words per sentence.
Expressive Language Highlights • 3 to 4 years. Uses “I, you, me” correctly. Answers “who, what, where, when” questions. May use 900 to 1000 words. Begins primitive narratives with one character, attributes, cause and effect. • 4 years. Begins to use the “to be” verb. Is using 4 to 5 words per sentence on average. Begins to consistently use complete sentences.
Expressive Language Highlights • 4 to 5 years. Begins to use compound and complex sentences. Uses regular past tense correctly. Lengthy narratives have a central character and events; may mix fact and fiction. • 5 years. Most sentences have correct grammar and syntax. True narratives begin with sequence, characters, linked events, and cohesive language.
Challenges to Fluency: Developmental Stuttering • Disfluent speech may occur between 2 and 5 years but especially between 2. 5 and 3. 5 years • Involves the “sinc” ing of language and speech • In some children, the desire to use language leaps ahead of the motor ability to send the language message
Challenges to Fluency: Developmental Stuttering • Most typically-developing children who go through developmental stuttering will be disfluent for one to three months then return to fluency • The speech disorder of stuttering also begins in this preschool period • How we make the differential diagnosis
Phonology • The speech sound system of a language • Children at birth have the potential to make all sounds of all languages, but…. . • American English has sounds not found in other languages and there are sounds in other languages not found in English
Phonology • Children learning to talk sort out the sounds needed in their language and discard those not needed. • They study their language and learn its rules
Phonology • In American English, voiceless stops are combined with /s/; voiced stops are not • The sound “h” is not used at the end of a word and the sound “ing” is not used at the beginning of a word
Phonology • Phonological processes are rules some children use to simplify speech • Final consonant deletion, weak syllable deletion, and cluster reductions are examples
Phonology • Using the process of final consonant deletion, the child may drop the “t” sound in “hat” • He may however be able to articulate, or produce the “t” sound in the initial position in words.
Phonology • Most children will drop the use of these rules by age 5 • A phonological disorder occurs when a child uses one of more of the simplifying rules longer than age-level expectations
Articulation • The act of shaping air from the lungs to make sounds. • Speech sounds develop in order from those easy to articulate to those more complex to articulate.
Articulation • The ability to physically produce speech sounds • Improves with age • Certain sounds are expected at certain ages
Articulation • Most vowels are learned by age two. • A word about vowels • The first consonants typically mastered are bilabials “p, b, m” • A word about mastery
Articulation • A word about consonant pairs and voicing • Speech sounds “t, d, k, g, f, v, n, w, ” are typically mastered by age four • A word about speech-motor complexity
Articulation • Speech sounds “l” and “y” are mastered by age five • A word about initial “ing” and voiced initial “sh” • Speech sounds “s, z, sh, ch, j, are mastered by age six
Articulation • Speech sounds voiced and voiceless “th” are mastered by age seven • The complex consonant and semi-vowel “r” is mastered by age eight • A word about consonant clusters
Articulation • Do articulation errors show up consistently as later spelling errors?
Intelligibility • How much of the child’s speech is understandable? • There are expectations at each age level.
Intelligibility • At age two, 50 per cent of speech should be intelligible • At age three, 75 per cent of the child’s speech should be understandable • At age four, 100 per cent of speech should be understandable (there may still be articulation “errors”)
Phonological Awareness • Develops between ages 5 and 6 • Words are made of sounds and can be broken into sounds • Sounds can be combined to make words • Sounds can be represented by letters
Language Pragmatics • The unwritten rules for social use of language • The keys to being able to have a conversation • Unlike other aspects of communication, language pragmatics are learned over a longer period of time but begin in the preschool years
Language Pragmatics • Eye contact • Taking turns talking • Staying on a topic • Knowing what to say and what not to say
Language Pragmatics • Rephrasing when misunderstood • How close to stand to someone when speaking • How to use facial expression
Language Pragmatics • Knowing how to change language due to the needs of the listener or situation • Talking differently to a baby than to an adult • Giving background information to an unfamiliar adult • Speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
Transitioning to Reading • There are oral language landmarks important to the later development of reading • Development of the ability to use narratives (the bridge to reading) at ages 3, 4 and 5. • Development of the ability to rhyme ( by age 5) • The development of phonological awareness (age 5 to 6)
Transitioning to Reading • The development of pre-literacy skills (throughout the preschool years) • Hearing stories read • Learning that stories go from left to right • Learning that stories go from top to bottom • Learning that books tell stories
Transitioning to Reading • Some speech-language problems in preschoolers may suggest the possibility of later difficulty with reading
Oral Language Problems Which May Suggest Later Reading Difficulty • Difficulty with word retrieval: uses vague words, uses circumlocutions, uses pronouns instead of nouns, combines gestures and words, uses words like “stuff, thingy. ” • Difficulty with auditory processing, especially understanding and responding to “wh” questions. May show confusion between familiar words and similar- sounding unfamiliar words
Oral Language Problems Which May Suggest Later Reading Difficulty • Difficulty producing motorically-complex multi-syllable words like “magazine, attractive, helicopter, binoculars. ” • May reverse syllables so that “bulldozer” becomes “dullbozer. ” • Articulation or phonological problems alone are not sufficient to suggest reading problems
References • Apel and Masterson. Beyond Baby Talk. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing (2001). • Hamaguchi, P. Childhood Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know. New York: John Wiley and Sons (1995) • Hulit and Howard. Born to Talk: An Introduction to Speech and Language Development. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company (1993). • Lombardino, L. , Riccio, C. , Hynd, G. , and Pinheiro, S. , “Linguistic Deficits in Children with Reading Disabilities. ” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 6, (1997).
References • Mahoney and Perales. Developmental Rainbow: Early Childhood Developmental Profile. Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University (2005). • Meyers, Robert. The Child Development Institute: Language Development in Children (an Internet resource). • Paul, Rhea. Language Disorders From Infancy Through Adolescence: Assessment and Intervention. New York: Mosby (1995).