Language development follows a sequence, but the time frame for the developmental steps will be different for each child. Oral language develops first. Babies hear and begin to make sounds. They interact with and receive positive feedback from adults around them. And they start to connect sounds to things, actions, and feelings. The most important period for children’s language development ends somewhere between ages five and 13. Early intervention really matters when it comes to language development, especially when there seem to be problems or delays.
Written language begins with young children’s random scribbles and develops over time in response to instruction. The development of oral language and written language come together as children learn to read. Oral language is the foundation for learning to read, and delays in oral language development can lead to delays in literacy.
Various challenges can interfere with the typical development of oral language and, as a result, also with the development of written language. Children who are learning English as a second language might face delays in language development. Children with disabilities, such as deafness or autism spectrum disorder, may need alternative methods of communication, like sign language or picture communication boards. Parapros often contribute to instructional teams that provide help to children whose oral language development is delayed.