Listening is a vital part of everyday life and children develop listening skills from birth. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening skills involve a child’s ability to attend to and process information that they hear. These skills are integral components of a child’s speech language and social development and have a large impact on their academic development as well.
Birth to three months
From as early as three months of age, infants can discriminate between speech and non-speech sounds. They are startled by loud sounds and quieten or become excited in response to novel sounds. Infants at this age are able to recognise a primary caregiver’s voice and smile or quieten when spoken to. They will also decreases or increases sucking behaviour in response to sounds in their environment.
Three to six months
Children at this stage will move their eyes in direction of sounds and can discriminate between friendly and angry voices. They react to changes in tone of voice and attend to music and toys that make sounds. They will also listen to a speaker and watches a speaker’s face when being spoken to.
Six to twelve months
Between the age of six and twelve months children will respond to sound from a source that isn’t visible to them. Children will respond physically to music and will stop an activity when their name is called out. They can recognize words for common items they use in everyday life such as ball or milk and pay particular attention to new words that they have not heard before. At this age, children begin to respond to simple requests, such as “Sit here”.
One to two years
Children at this stage, children are able to follows one-step directions with cues and gestures such as pointing. They can understand simple questions, such as “Where’s Daddy?” and point to named pictures in a book. Children at this age are able to follow directions to find two familiar objects as well as sit and listen to simple stories.
Two to three years
Children between two and three years respond to commands involving body parts, such as “Show me your foot” and follow two-step directions, such as “Get your cup and bring it to me”. They can follow directions that include action with adverb or action with adjective, such as “Walk slowly” or “Give me the red ball”. They can also demonstrate an understanding of several action words by selecting the appropriate picture to match a spoken verb. Children in this age range should also recognise family members’ names or titles such as baby or grandpa.
Three to four years
By three to four years of age, a child should be able to attend to their own name being called from another room. They can understand simple wh- questions and most simple questions regarding their activities and environment. Their listening skills have significantly improved to a point where they begin to learn from listening.
Four to five years
At four to five years children can attend to a short story and answers simple questions about it. They hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school and can repeat four digits when they are given slowly. Children at this stage will readily follows simple commands involving remote objects.
Five to six years
At this stage, children are able to repeat sentences up to nine words in length and readily follow three-step directions. They can respond correctly to most sentence types however they may still get confused at times by more complex sentences such as ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions.
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you need to arrange speech therapy for a child with speech and language delay, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.
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