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Saturday 15 November 2014

Speechie's Couch: C is for Communication

Is there a link between communication and literacy skills? You bet there is. Mountains of research now link the ability to produce sounds in words (articulation), the ability to hear sounds in words (phonological awareness), the ability to put words in sentences (grammar), word finding (semantics) and listening (comprehension) skills to the successful development of literacy. Direct formative links exist between age appropriate language development and the emergence of literacy skills.

So how do you know if your child is developing communication skills along expected lines? Speech Pathology Australia offers easy to read guidelines on normal communication development for children with English as their first language. For guidelines for children from 0 – 3 years read more here.

For guidelines on normal communication development for preschoolers and school aged children, read more here.

For an introduction to the specific challenges that indigenous Australian children face, read more here.

Is your child growing up in a bilingual environment? Then development of communication skills may progress differently, as may be the case if your child has suffered from intermittent hearing difficulties as a result of a conductive hearing loss or ‘glue ear.’

While Speech Pathology Australia’s easy read guidelines are a starting point, they will not answer the myriad of questions that may arise. If in doubt, contact your hospital’s Speech Pathology Department, a local Speech Pathologist or a Maternal and Child Health Advisor.

Try Googling Speech Therapy or Speech Language Association in your country of residence to find your local Speech Pathology Association. Many offer online guidelines and information about normal language development. If not, ask them.

Jo Burnell is KBR's Development Editor and resident paediatric speech pathologist. A reviewer of children’s and YA books and shortlisting judge for Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year, Jo is familiar with effective writing for Upper Primary and Secondary students.