Language development and intervention
Language is the use of arbitrary sounds, with accepted referents, that can be arranged in different sequences to convey different meanings. Its basic components are phonology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. As children practice and master sounds (phonemes), meanings (semantics), and grammatical rules (syntax), they also learn rules and conventions governing conversation (pragmatics). Language learning is often divided into two main stages: prespeech and speech. In the speech stage, a child progresses from sounds to words, grammar, and pragmatics. In the prespeech stage, meaningful speech sounds are gradually developed; this stage lasts from birth to about the end of the first year or early part of the second and ends with the appearance of single words. Achievements in the prespeech stage include the appearance of the intention to communicate, evident in signals and gestures that have meaning from infant and caregiver; and the discovery of symbols--that things have names. The ability to use and understand words grows out of a complex series of interactions between infants and parents, including eye contact, directing attention through eye movements and gestures, and turn-taking.
Language delays are an early sign that a child is not receiving and processing information properly. Underlying language and communication problems appear to be major factors in reading disorders, behavior disorders, and learning disabilities. Of the 35% U.S. children who enter kindergarten unprepared to learn, most lack the necessary language skills to participate fully in school. Some of the causes of speech or language disorders are related to hearing loss, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, severe head injury, stroke, viral diseases, mental retardation, certain drugs, physical impairments (e.g., cleft palate), voice abuse or misuse, and inadequate speech and language models. Frequently, the cause is unknown.
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JoAnne Bachorowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Science
Stephen M. Camarata, Ph.D.
Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Edward Conture, Ph.D.
Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences Emeritus
Benjamin Hornsby, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences
Ann P. Kaiser, Ph.D.
Susan Gray Chair in Education and Human Development; Professor of Special Education and Psychology
Sasha Key, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Associate Director, IDDRC Translational Neuroimaging Core C; Director, VKC Psychophysiology Lab
Sarika Peters, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Megan Saylor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development
C. Melanie Schuele, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences
Tedra A. Walden, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Paul J. Yoder, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education
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