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In the first few years of life, children learn to smile, laugh, recognize familiar faces, crawl, and walk. While there are many milestones in these early years, a parent hearing their baby's first words might be one of the most significant and heartwarming. Infants communicate in other ways before they ever begin to talk, but many parents still worry if their child has not started speaking by a certain age. Understanding the timeline and developmental steps of normal speech and language skills can help ease those worries.

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1. Speech and the Infant Brain

Within the first three years, a child’s brain matures at a rapid rate. According to research, during this period, children acquire language skills at an accelerated pace due to the brain’s ability to absorb speech sounds and language patterns. Babies begin to communicate within the first three months of life. When parents and caregivers expose them to speech and language consistently, the child’s ability to develop it increases. While speech and language development vary, pediatric health professionals do follow a timetable to ensure that the child is meeting average milestones. Most children between the ages of 11 and 13 months can say a few words and use communication gestures, like waving “bye-bye.”

communicate development pediatric health professional FatCamera / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.