Early Language Acquisition and Intervention Children accomplish numerous language feats in their first 3 years of life. To some, these early learning years are seen as part of a critical or sensitive period of development. Typically, language intervention that focuses on remediation, compensation, or prevention of language impairments is initiated at very early ages. This ... Article
Article  |   May 01, 1997
Early Language Acquisition and Intervention
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diane Frome Loeb
    Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   May 01, 1997
Early Language Acquisition and Intervention
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, May 1997, Vol. 7, 18-25. doi:10.1044/nnsld7.1.18
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, May 1997, Vol. 7, 18-25. doi:10.1044/nnsld7.1.18
Children accomplish numerous language feats in their first 3 years of life. To some, these early learning years are seen as part of a critical or sensitive period of development. Typically, language intervention that focuses on remediation, compensation, or prevention of language impairments is initiated at very early ages. This article will survey early language accomplishments, timing and implementation of early intervention approaches, the current status of the critical period hypothesis, and the future of intervention for children from birth through toddlerhood.
Eventual competent language use for communication purposes requires a child to understand others and to express him- or herself. Regardless of one’s theoretical orientation to language acquisition, it is clear that input from the language environment is needed in order to learn the words and sounds in a given language. In the first year of life, children in the Western culture are exposed to motherese or child-directed speech that contains special characteristics that readily gain the child’s attention. Some linguistic features of childdirected speech include high pitch, diminutization, repetitions, utterances separated by pauses, frequent questions, and content focusing on the here and now. Some researchers and clinicians contend that child-directed speech highlights the sounds and the words of the language, thus assisting the child in perceptual breakthroughs and in understanding the give-and-take of language interaction. Although it is not known how necessary childdirected speech is for language acquisition, it is evident that early on in the first half of their first year, infants prefer certain voices over others, can discriminate individual speech sounds, and can discriminate combinations of syllables.
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