Speech in the Child

Speech in the Child

Child’s speech at the very beginning of development comes down to the releasing of various incomprehensible voices accompanied by gestures and facial expressions, to later be formed into real speech. In addition to the age of the child, for the normal development of children’s speech, it is necessary to meet anatomical and psychological preconditions.

Speech is of great importance for the mental development of the child. Speech significantly contributes to its formation as a social being, because speech and bipedal walk are the basic characteristics of man that distinguish him from animals. Speech is associated with various functions of the psyche. The very first inarticulate voices that the baby makes when sucking, swallowing and belching, while expecting breastfeeding, are an expression of his feelings of satisfaction during those activities. It expresses feelings more clearly with the child’s development and speech. Even before the first words are formed, the child is able to respond with different voices to pleasant and unpleasant words heard in conversations close to him, because he understands them even before he can utter them. At the age of 2, when he already utters certain words. At that age the child can express his basic desires and needs and is partially able to communicate verbally with the people around him.

According to Rubinstein S. L., the newborn, the little child, with his babbling, with the so-called baby speech, simply finds pleasure, no matter what he achieves with it. The voices created by the child are accompanied by gestures and facial expressions, and over time, this practice is reversed. The more developed the child’s speech, the less gestures there are. In a three-year-old child, most of the communication with others is gestural rather than verbal, and already in four-year-olds the ratio is reversed, the verbal expression prevails over the gestural one.

Before a child can speak, he must first understand the speech of others. Later his speech greatly contributed to the development of his thinking, especially in the formation of abstract concepts. Speech is invaluable in achieving emotional contact with the environment. With the help of speech, the child identifies with the adults around him, imitates them and learns from them. Therefore, speech is based on the mental development of the child and thus his socialization. Speech enables him to communicate, collaborate and build complex interpersonal relationships.

A fully formed speech is a verbal expression of the psyche. Speech is closely related to other thought activities in a functional whole, such as:

  • Understand what others are saying
  • Recognize and understand letters (reading)
  • Expression in letters (writing)

All these forms of understanding and expression of thought are included in the term speech.

Speech can only develop properly if certain anatomical and physiological preconditions are met. The child must first have a normally developed hearing in order to be able to hear other people’s speech, as a prerequisite for being able to understand, reproduce, correct, improve, control and finally actively use speech. Hearing is fully developed when the middle and inner ear are healthy as organs, if the auditory nerve is functioning properly, and if the brain region responsible for speech is properly formed.

In front of the region of the brain that serves to understand speech, in the back of the left frontal cortex is the motor center responsible for speech. Here all the nerve pathways gather, descend into the spinal cord and control the function of the cerebral nerves, which in turn directly control the movements of the mouth and tongue. The two cerebral hemispheres are interconnected. Therefore, when one hemisphere is damaged, such as bleeding, tumor, or other brain disease, it regularly causes more or less disruption in the work of the other cerebral hemisphere and thus the ability to speak.

The motor center in the brain enables speech itself with the help of the speech organs. If any of them is underdeveloped or damaged, the child will partially speak or will not be able to speak at all, although he has something to say. Speech also requires a certain level of intellectual development, ie knowledge of ideas and concepts that are characteristics of the intellect. If the child’s intelligence is underdeveloped or lags behind in development, speech also remains underdeveloped or impossible. Impairment of intellectual functionality – dementia, causes some regression of speech. Various brain damage can impair intellectual development and thus speech.

The regions of the brain that serve to understand speech and speech itself are connected to nerve fibers in those areas of the brain that control reading and writing. Therefore, in case of injury to the region of the brain that is responsible for speech, it regularly causes disabilities in reading and writing, and such impairments of these functions cause difficulties with speech.

Only with the normal functioning of the speech center can the peripheral speech organs work properly, and thus produce intelligible and logical speech. These organs include the nuclei of the cerebral nerves in the extended brain, whose fibers directly control the work of the muscular system for breathing and generating voice.

The muscles that make up the voice include the muscles of the throat, throat, palate, tongue, and lips. When determining the shape and color of the voice, e.g. in the formation of individual voices and consonants, the lips and nasal cavities, teeth, hard palate and paranasal sinuses in the bones of the face are also involved.