Language and speech in the brain

The start of acquiring language and speech is clearly the sense of hearing. Through listening the infant learns about language and will eventually wish to imitate the speech of his or her caretakers.

Language and speech in the brain

If you are concerned about speech delay, a speech impediment or other language or speech related issues, please always first check with a medical practitioner and check the hearing of the child. Hearing loss, very sensitive or distorted hearing will all impact on language acquisition and speech development. The medical profession often can help with hearing loss, but mostly ignores sensitive or distorted hearing.

It is scientifically proven that sounds received by the right ear are mainly processed in the left side of the brain and sounds received by the left ear mainly in the right side of the brain. Furthermore, most language processing takes place in the left side of the brain, in two distinct areas, Wernicke's area for written and spoken language understanding and Broca's area for speech production. Damage to either of these areas mostly results in the loss of language understanding or loss of speech. Other parts of the brain and various inter-connections also play an important role, however.

There is a growing body of evidence that people with language disorders, including Dyslexia and speech delay, often attempt to process too much of the auditory language input in the right side of the brain and that the synchronisation or speed of signal transfer between the two sides of the brain is less than optimal. Medically this is referred to as Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).

Training the brain to make more and faster connections between the two sides, and strengthening the specialised language centres in the left side whilst inhibiting the right side from processing speech, can help to reduce the effects of APD. The unique SAS music and language programmes have been specifically designed to address these areas.

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Sensitivities and autistic like behaviour

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Learning to speak

Children learn to speak at widely varying ages, some very early at six months, but more commonly first words come around 12 to 18 months of age, while others need more time. Mostly speech is preceded by babbling and nonsense words, but some 'perfectionists' are silent until such time they feel confident that they can say words properly. Some children with 'speech delay' will suddenly come out with whole sentences.

Activating speech development

SAS Centre specialises in programmes that encourage a child to acquire speech. This may involve preparatory work to improve attention, social contact and motivation followed by a programme of specially altered music and language input. Each programme is designed around the needs and abilities of the child and is aimed at helping the child to start speaking.

Encouraging speech development

If your child has speech delay, then try some of these hints and tips that you can try yourself at home: