Talking doesn’t start at the mouth. Before we can speak or give meaning to language, we must learn to move.
Movement is necessary to explore our surroundings and travel from point A to point B (even if it is just to the couch). Motor development relies on the teamwork of the tactile (touch), proprioceptive (body awareness), and vestibular (movement) systems to establish a physical awareness of self to feel safe and move without fear.
Research has shown that achieving motor milestones may also be closely linked to unlocking cognitive abilities, like speech and language.
Speech and language are not easy skills to achieve. Before we can talk or make sense of what people are saying, our sensory foundations must be established. This explains why most kids aren’t fully conversational until around 3 years old.
For example, intelligible speech can’t happen without the cooperation of the vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (body awareness), and tactile (touch) systems who govern the fine motor movements, coordination, and motor planning of the throat, lips, and jaw. If we are to understand a conversation, our auditory (hearing) system needs to differentiate between sounds of words to not mix up what someone is communicating to us.
This all ties back to sensory integration.
Hey, are you listening to me? Did you hear what I said? What did I say?
Sound familiar? As parents, we want to believe our kids are paying attention to the things we say. Sometimes they do, but other times it feels like it goes through one ear and out the other. Although we have talked in depth how attention can play a role in why your child may not be listening to instruction, another thing to consider is that the system frequently used could often be abused.
What is the Auditory System?
This system is responsible for our ability to hear and make sense of the sounds around us. Hearing is a basic skill and one of the first to develop in the womb, working in tandem with the vestibular system to assist in movement, balance, and coordination.
This spring, when we were planning this series, we wanted to get talking with a couple of our friends. We have mom friends and girlfriends, and we talk about our kids a lot. However, we don’t usually get to have professional conversations about their development. Enter our close friend Sarah, a licensed Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Gotta love our super-accomplished Millennial Mom circle!
Before we start on our Course Notes series on the Auditory system, we gave her a few basic questions on speech that we were curious about.
This book appeared on my radar earlier this year. Author Dana Suskind, M.D. just came out with a new title, Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise, and this was one of her previous books listed in her bio. Thirty Million Words was available from my library, so I gave it a try on a work trip in April.