Actions are Louder Than Words: The Speech and Movement Connection

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.

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Making Sense About Speech: Sensory Integration and Speech

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.

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