Child Language Development

Child Language DevelopmentAs a McLean speech-language therapist, I often speak with parents about child language development.  Specifically, my discussions with parents often center on a comparison of typical child language development with early childhood language delays.

Child Language Development

Typical child language development

Language skills develop during infancy, prior to a child being able to say their first words.  Specifically, language includes both receptive (i.e., understanding) and expressive (i.e., production) components.  Receptive language abilities that often develop between birth and age one include a child recognizing their parents’ voices and responding to simple requests.  Expressive language skills that typically develop during this time include a child making babbling sounds and producing their first words at approximately one year of age.  While all children progress through communication stages (i.e., single words, two-word phrases) in a predictable, sequential manner, not all children develop language skills at the same age.  The following link presents typical language development at specific ages, as well as activities that can used by parents to further develop their child’s language skills from birth to age five:

Developmental Milestones – Expressive and Receptive Language

Why is child language development important?

Child language development plays an important role in a child’s overall well-being.  Aspects of a child’s life that rely heavily on language skills include having their needs met, behavior, academic success, and social interactions with others.  Early speech-language intervention is critical for those children suspected of having a language delay or disorder between the ages of birth to age five.  At this young age, children have the greatest opportunity to make improvements in their language skills, due to rapid development of their brain during this time period.  The following link presents “warning signs” of delayed child language development from birth to age four:

Warning Signs – Delayed Child Language Development

What strategies are useful in developing a child’s language skills?

A Step Above Speech Language Pathology utilizes evidence-based early intervention language strategies developed by the Hanen Centre as part of the It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays.  Strategies routinely incorporated into speech-language sessions include the following:

– Observe, wait, listen

– Let your child’s lead/Follow your child’s lead

– Take turns to keep the interaction going

– Add language to the interaction

A Step Above Speech Language Pathology understands the importance of involving family members as part of a child’s continued language development.  Practical communication strategies are introduced to parents, and suggestions as to how these strategies can be used on a daily basis during everyday routines are discussed.

To learn more about The Hanen Centre and the It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays, please visit the following:

It Takes Two to Talk® — The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays

Child Language Therapy in Northern Virginia

If you are interested in learning about A Step Above Speech Language Pathology and the speech and language services that we provide, please contact us for more information.  We cater to clients in Northern Virginia, specifically in Falls Church, Arlington, Vienna, Mclean, Annandale, Fairfax, Merrifield, and also in Washington, D.C.


American Speech-Language -Hearing Association. (1997-2013).  How Does Your Child Hear and Talk? Retrieved   from

Conklin, C., Pepper, J., Weitzman, E., & McDade, A. (2007). Making Hanen Happen Leaders Guide for It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents.  Ontario: The Hanen Centre.

The Hanen Centre. (2011).  Communication Development in Preschool Children with Language Delays.  Retrieved from




Geoffrey Greenman, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Northern Virginia speech therapist.  He is the owner of “A Step Above Speech-Language Pathology.” We are a Herndon, Virginia speech private practice that provides child language therapy.

Speak Your Mind