The ability to communicate is important for daily living, including the development of social relationships. Children learn to communicate in stages, with articulation and language developing independently. To understand verbal communication development, it is important to understand the difference between speech (articulation) and language.

  • Speech (articulation) − the physical production of sounds to form spoken words.
  • Language − the message conveyed back and forth in talking. This includes the ability to understand the speech of others (receptive language) and the ability to express thoughts through words and sentences (expressive language).

Children vary in their rate of development. However, speech and language development generally occurs as follows: