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Early Communication Development


The Importance of Gestures


As a parent, watching your child grow and develop is one of life's greatest joys.

However, it's natural to feel concerned if you notice your child isn't meeting certain

milestones. Early communication development is critical for your child's social,

emotional, and academic success. The number of gestures you child learns in early life

is a significant milestone and an early indicator of healthy communication development

and can help identify potential delays that might impact future learning and social

interactions.


The Role of Gestures in Communication Development


Gestures are a fundamental part of early communication. They help children express

their needs and interests before they can use words. Developing gestures is closely

linked to language and overall cognitive growth. Research has shown that children who

develop a rich repertoire of gestures tend to have better language skills later on. These

early gestures form the foundation for more complex communication skills, including

spoken language and social interaction.


Critical Gestures and Their Development Timeline


Here's a simple breakdown of some key gestures your child should start to be using

around these ages:


Why Does This Matter?


Understanding and addressing early communication and language difficulties is

incredibly important for your child's future. Early intervention can help prevent more

significant challenges with behavior, learning, reading, and social interactions later on.

The first three years of life are a critical period for brain development, with rapid growth

and the formation of essential neural connections. By the time your child is three, major

brain circuits are mostly mature, making it harder to make substantial changes. Early

support can set your child on a path for lifelong success.


What if My Baby Isn’t Learning These Gestures by the Milestones?


Children who do not develop the expected gestures by 16 months may be at risk for

communication delays. This can affect their ability to connect with others, learn


language, and engage in social interactions. Parents and caregivers should monitor

their child's gesture development and seek early intervention if delays are observed.

Early support can nurture your child's development and help prevent future challenges.


How Can I Support my Infants-Toddlers Development?


As a parent, you play a crucial role in fostering early communication skills. Here are

some tips to support your child's development:


  • Engage in social interactions and respond to your child's gestures.

  • Provide a rich language environment by talking to your child frequently.

  • Share attention on the same object and talk about it to create meaningful

learning opportunities.


By paying attention to these early milestones, you can ensure your child is on the right

path toward healthy language development and future academic success. Early

detection and intervention are key to addressing potential delays and helping your child

reach their full potential.


Next Steps:


If you have concerns, reach out to Willow and Sage Counselling for free developmental

screenings for infants and toddlers aged 6-24 months. We also provide additional

resources to support these goals at home and offer community-based resources if

needed or desired. Remember, you're not alone on this journey, and many resources

are available to support you and your child.


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