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Milestones of speech, language and communication development: 5 – 6 years

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Growing from a baby to a child requires achieving many milestones in language, physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Most children develop skills in roughly the same order but the actual age a child reaches that milestone can vary considerably. Our child “Bill” has normal hearing. During the 5 – 6 year period of development, Bill will start school. He now speaks fluently, can negotiate and problem solve verbally.

Speech and auditory awareness: 5 – 6 years

Bill now has no difficulties producing any sounds – m n p b t d w ng k g h f s y l r v z sh ch th sp st sk sl sm sn sw tr gr br pr cr fl bl pl gl spr str scr spl .

He is using around 2000 words and his auditory memory allows him to store and repeat back 4-5 digits.

Expressive language and semantics (content): 5 – 6 years

Bill is using 2000 words with an average sentence length of 5-6 words. His grammar is now complex and he speaks fluently. His vocabulary will also continue to grow at a fast rate as he is now attending school.

Bill will continue to learn new words (especially in the next few years of his life) and the complexity and content of his sentences will continue to increase through till adulthood.

Social use of language (use and pragmatics): 5 – 6 years

Bill is quite capable of expressing his feelings verbally and he is also showing more of an interest in things being funny.

As Bill reaches the age of 6, he may start to get more interested in games with rules such as sports. These are not made-up games that are created spontaneously and Bill will begin to learn to negotiate the rules of the game.

Receptive language (comprehension, perceiving and understanding) and cognition: 5 – 6 years

Bill can state his birthday, full name and address. He stays with one activity for 20 minutes and uses problem solving and complicated reasoning to solve a task. Bill can make logical relationships and solves problems verbally.

He also demands increasingly detailed explanations of things, sometimes to the point the adult is unable to answer. His classification of objects has also increased in complexity and he classifies by form, colour, use, or composition, e.g., “You eat with a fork.” “A fork is made of metal.”

He continues to learn and understand new concepts such as “more” and “less.” He describes people, places or things using attributes. He names a time of day associated with an activity and recites days of the week and uses simple money concepts.

Bill is using 2000 words, but understands 6000, and continues to ask the meaning of new words. He can listen and attend for longer periods of time which is a skill he requires as he is now attending school.

Bill has a good grasp on reality and understands the difference between reality versus fantasy.

Morphology and syntax (structure): 5 – 6 years

Bill is now well versed to be able to answer questions about a story and its plot. He can comprehend all question types including “how many”, and can comprehend complex questions related to remote events.

He is using sentences that average six to eight words and they are grammatically correct. He is also starting to use complex verbs such as “could have been,” “will be going,” etc.

Gross and fine motor skills: 5 – 6 years

Bill’s gross and fine motor skills are well developed now, but as he is getting older Bill is starting to find that he is quite good at some things such as drawing and playing football. If he practices and continues with these pursuits he will find that his skills continue to develop right into adulthood.

Additional reading

For more information on child development, and activities to develop speech and language skills visit the website Reproduced with permission.
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