Human beings are social beings. They play, chat, sing, tell jokes, share stories, discuss issues, ask questions, follow directions, write emails, send text messages, follow twitter, post on Facebook, and do countless other activities every day that enable connections with others. Communication skills, both oral and written, are core to these activities. Communication skills allow us to participate in our everyday lives and interact with the world around us. Consequently, being able to communicate is considered a human right, recognised by the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. However, not all children are able to communicate effectively, and some need support to acquire speech and language skills, or to learn to use alternative modes of communication (e.g., sign language, augmentative devices). Without support, communication difficulties can lead to problems with developing and maintaining social relationships, and learning difficulties at school (Harrison, McLeod, Berthelsen & Walker, 2009; McCormack, Harrison, McLeod & McAllister, 2011).In this chapter, we identify key stages in the development of communication skills in the early years, and explore the milestones associated with each stage. We consider the development of oral communication skills, and identify features that may indicate concerns at each stage. Finally, we suggest strategies for stimulating and supporting communication development across the early years.
|Title of host publication||Health and wellbeing in childhood|
|Editors||Susanne Garvis, Donna Pendergast|
|Place of Publication||Melbourne|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|