Natural Aural Approach: Guide

Sue Lewis, Alison Holmans and Cate Statham | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

The Importance of Early Language

The Importance of Early Language

There is a plethora of literature which details the importance of early language and communication  and ways in which families can help their children develop language and communication skills and promote their educational achievements and emotional wellbeing eg Tiny Happy People  and Hungry Little Minds.

Research concerning deaf children emphasises their vulnerability to underachievement and communication difficulties and the importance of being sure that the child has access to sufficiently high quality language input and interaction with their family and others.

The development of meaningful communication stimulates the language centre of the brain and ultimately supports the infrastructure for reading and writing.  In addition, as children’s language abilities develop, they are able to take part in increasingly long conversations, giving them further insight into the mental states of others, helping them to understand more about what others think and feel; feeding into the development of theory of mind.

Remmel & Peters, 2008 

Theory of mind and deaf children Dr Helen Chilton 2019

Tricks, lies and mistakes: identifying Theory of Mind concepts within storybooks shared with deaf childrenDr Helen Chilton 2017 

Language is more than sounds, grammar and words (or signs).  Research by Yoshinago Itano et al  has identified for example, that some deaf children may make good progress in relation to sounds, words and grammar but may not express a similar range of intentions or meanings as their hearing peers.  The Yoshinago Itano research indicates further the potential risks for deaf children who may have superficially fluent language in some areas but not others - and the importance of helping parents to support meaning and communication rather than teach individual words.