The Development of Speech and Language

Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 19 June 2017

 Sarah Pillar presenting at the 2017 Better Education Conference 

Effective communication is essential for a child’s social and emotional growth, as well as academic achievement. The complex process of communication development starts at birth and has set milestones that can be used to identify children who are at risk for delays. During her presentation, Sarah Pillar discussed normal speech progression, as well as the development of expressive and receptive language. She emphasized the fact that teachers are often the earliest point of referral for speech and language problems.

It was clear during the workshop that it is of great value for a teacher to be aware of the speech and language norms, and the variations that can occur within these norms. During the early years, a delay in speech and language development may have an impact on the student’s overall academic progress. It is therefore essential to be addressed as early as possible. Sarah gave hands-on suggestions on how to stimulate and reinforce the correct production of speech sounds. These promptings are used to elicit the correct place and manner of sound production and will assist the student to distinguish between voiced and unvoiced sounds. Sarah also discussed strategies to improve language learning. These included ways to address language form (grammar), content (vocabulary) and use (pragmatic skills).

This session was very interesting and valuable. Sarah is an engaging speaker and very knowledgeable in her field. The norms she gave will be very helpful as a quick reference guide when concerned about a student’s speech and/or language development.

Sarah contributed an article on 'The top 5 questions asked by teachers' to the 2017 Better Education Conference 'Be' Magazine. Access it online now to read more from conference speakers & other contributors.

Summary by Liana Luyt