Speech, language and literacy development in early childhood

Fact sheets from Speech Pathology Australia

The Communication Milestones Kit is a series of A4-sized downloadable information sheets and an A3-sized poster. These outline the talking and understanding milestones for children aged 1-5 years. The kit also assists parents and carers to find a speech pathologist if they are unsure about whether their child is having difficulty with his or her speech, language and communication.

Helping Your Baby to Talk Fact sheet (download) explains how language is fundamental to a baby’s development. Download an Easy English version. Also available to download in Dari  (کمک کردن به طفل خود که گپ بزند). 

The Sound of Speech: 0 - 3 years Fact sheet (download) explains how learning to speak is a crucial part of a child’s development. The most intensive period of speech and language development happens in the first three years of life. Download an Easy English version.

The Sound of Speech: Preschool and School Aged Children Fact sheet (download) explains why learning to speak is a crucial part of a child’s development. Progress made in the preschool and early school years is crucial to mastering the rules of language. Download an Easy English version. 

Fact sheets on the Communication Hub

Late Talkers Fact sheet provides information about children who are late to talk and how you can support their communication.

Literacy Fact sheet explains how learning to read and write is a crucial part of a child’s development. Reading and writing (literacy) are essential skills for adults. Being literate means that people can understand and follow written instructions, find out information online or in books, write letters and emails, and send text messages. It also means that a child or adult is able to participate fully in their education and learning.

What you can do to help

Adults can support early speech and language development in every conversation with young children:

  • Read to your child regularly: read different stories, comment on the pictures and use gesture to emphasise the meaning of words.  
    See Speech Pathology Australia’s information about the Book of the Year Awards: Book of the Year
  • Get down to your child’s level and follow their lead: describe the actions made by your child during play (e.g., “going up”, “feeding ted”). 
  • Encourage play: engage in play with your child to provide opportunity to model language and talk about what both you and your child are doing. 

Early communication development is important for long-term learning and social outcomes. Seeking support early for concerns about your child’s late talking or understanding can assist in improving their communication ability.

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