So, unless you have been living under a rock, on a luxurious tropical vacation (can you tell I'm tired of this COLD?!) or lead a technology free lifestyle you HAVE probably seen the twin boys "talking" to one another. If you haven't seen it, go to our FB page and you will find it there. Completely hilarious and if you are an SLP I know you love it for more reasons than it just being cute.
The reason I wanted to write a few lines about this video is because it is such a PHENOMENAL example of joint attention, appropriate inflection (even without words) and gesture use. It illustrates that even toddlers using very few words can communicate quite well and use appropriate responses to others' communication attempts (the baby laughing appropriately at his brother's antics when there is a pause in the gibberish).
So many times, I am asked by parents what we as SLP's look for when we evaluate a toddler. We often hear "they are so little and barely talking, how can you "tell" that there is a delay or problem?" Well, THESE are the things we look for; joint attention, inflection, gestures etc(the very things this video demonstrated so beautifully)...this tells us many things about not only the current level of the child's speech/language skills but also what the problem might be and if they would be a good candidate for therapy.
When I do an evaluation with a child if I don't see the "back and forth" and joint attention when I speak with them or when they speak with a parent or other familiar adult, this raises "red flags" and tells me that the child isn't "using" what speech they DO have in an appropriate way. It also tells me that one of the reasons they are likely delayed is BECAUSE they aren't understanding the very foundation or purpose of words etc... Further, if the child uses few gestures to try to supplement what they do say this is another "red flag" that there could be motor delays (speech is a motor skills) in addition to the speech delay.
"Gibberish" has always been and will always be my very favorite stage that a child goes through on the road to becoming a speaker. Watching a child who is very obviously telling you a story, but sounds as if they are speaking a foreign or made up language, is not only entertaining but a VERY important step in the stages of speech and language development. Having said that, it does not always indicate that the child is doing FINE either so if your child has few words even IF they are using gestures and inflection you should still contact a speech language pathologist for an evaluation.
Should you wish for more specific examples of what your child should be doing at different stages of their development, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to help.
As always, I welcome your comments and input to my blog posts.