The normal development of language can be tracked by monitoring of language milestones, which should occur in a definite order – such as babbling at around 8-10 month, ability to understand words (comprehension) –at 9-10 months, and first word around 12 months. It should be noted that there is some variation in exact timing of these milestones.
Development of language can be divided into several areas such as the learning of sounds (Phonology), rules of language (Grammar), meaning (Semantics), and use of language (Pragmatics).
Evaluation of a child with language concerns should prompt the following questions.
1- Does my child hear normally?
2- Is there any other condition which may influence language?
3- Has my child achieved language milestones?
A useful screening test we use in the practice is the ELM-2 (Early Language Milestone Scale-2). This tool has been shown in studies to be a valid screening test.
When using the ELM, we look at milestones in expressive (outgoing), receptive, and visual language development. This allows us to place your child on a percentile for age, track progress over time, and refer for further assessment when indicated.
This test is used between the ages of birth to 3 years.