Toddler Speech

Toddler Speech Development – In a Nutshell!


Annette is experienced in assisting with Toddler Speech Therapy; helping children get the best start in life. Annette can also provide training and strategic guidance for parent groups, childcare providers and educators. If you feel that Annette can assist with your Toddler Speech Therapy needs, please do not hesitate to contact Annette.


Part One-when it all began!

Observing baby’s speech and language development is a fascinating journey. In just a year, from the first sound uttered at birth (a cry) to a baby using single words, there are many significant milestones along the way. I was privileged to be able to follow identical twin boys on their early journey and record some of these milestones with them. In this first part, there are recordings after a premature birth, where they lacked the energy to latch onto a nipple and were given dummies to develop the oral musculature so that they could begin suckling as this video shows.

They were being fed by nasal tubes at this stage, until their muscles had had time to develop when they were introduced to the breast a short time later, when they had the strength to latch on to the breast. The child’s first latching on to a nipple largely affects what specific sounds will develop-the lip sounds (m,p,b,w) and the swallowing movements (t,d,k,g)
Is it any wonder that Mum and Dad are some of the first words the child is likely to say?

A child’s first cry at birth heralds the beginning of speech-the child learns to exhale and make sound. We learn to talk on our exhalations, not inhalations.This activity further develops in the first year as the child listens to others talking around them along with environmental sounds

and themselves as they begin to learn to make sounds; babble and try to imitate others as this footage shows.

(patterning back sounds)

(responding to speech around them)

(patterning sounds)

Mouths play a large part in giving sensory feedback, not only when teething when these teething rings were introduced, but throughout the early months.

(teething/mouthing experiences)

Toddlers like to “mouth” objects to explore different sensations around the mouth as they become more used to using their hands to draw objects to their mouth, which involves a developing level of motor control. Later this is transitioned into taking food to their mouths as is evidenced in following footage.

Exploring the sensations of different environmental textures later helps the child to accommodate solid food with varying textures. At 6 months,solid foods were introduced.

(introduction of solids)

Children then want to “feed themselves” and explore the various textures and tastes.

(experimenting with food)

(eating progresses)

During this time which further aids tongue, lip and cheek development and swallowing (hence t,d,k,g) are likely to emerge as these sounds involve the lip and tongue movement.

(developing sounds)

It takes a while for children to get the hang of feeding themselves. This footage shows a mixture of hands and spoon. As time goes on children become more adapt at feeding themselves with just a spoon or fork.

Gradually, communication begins to emerge as they try to communicate with each other.

(learning to engage with each other)

and their parents (who are familiar)s

(enjoying engagement with parent)

and other adults

(enjoying “talky time”)

Further along the track the beginning of humour appears between them.

(early beginnings of humour)

Early literacy has begun! Pre literacy skills begin to emerge at birth as children learn to listen to sounds and discriminate between them. Rhythm and rhyme are essential skills to develop as well.

(beginnings of early literacy-rhyme development)

Reading stories to children develops their vocabulary. At first interest in looking at books is fleeting, but they are listening to narrative text. Then they go through the stage of being more interested in chewing on the book corners!

(early reading to babies)

The twins at a year old will now choose which books they want read to them and come book in hand, sit down and enjoy pointing to pictures and making sounds, particularly animal sounds.

Now we are learning to feed ourselves.

for more information on toddler speech therapy, please contact Annette.

Contact Annette