Psychological Factors That Affect Language Development in Children

by Angeliki Coconi

    Children develop language skills at a varying rate, according to The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Australia. Although some children grow to understand and speak rather quickly, others may develop slowly. There are numerous possible reasons and, in some cases, may be psychological. The psychological factors affecting language development can be environment or care related. Often, the reasons may even have to do with a medical problem which results in a psychological disorder and prevents children from properly developing in this area.

    According to Kyla Boyse, at the University of Michigan, certain medical issues can prevent a child from developing efficient language skills or slow down the process. Speech problems such as dysanthia, stuttering, speaking in low volume or in a slurred manner, can often be embarrassing for the child and lead to emotional insecurity. As a result, she may hesitate to speak and thus delay her language development.

    The level of care that a child receives from her parents may also affect her language development, according to a study carried out by the University of North Carolina. Research showed that children who are neglected by their care providers tend to develop language skills more slowly, in comparison to kids who are given all the attention and care that they need. In cases where children are overlooked and left alone too much, the lack of communication and encouragement often prevents them from properly developing and may slow down the acquisition of language skill significantly.

    According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, traumatic stress can prevent a child from understanding language and learning to speak correctly. Exposure to violence and abuse can lead to the child suffering from severe anxiety, which in turn can have negative effects on her language development. As her ability to handle her emotions becomes affected, her ability to express herself effectively diminishes.

    As studies carried out by the University of Virginia and Ohio State University showed, a child's ability to understand language as well as speak has a lot to do with her social environment. Her parents, teachers and peers play a decisive role in her language development, as communication is important for her progress. As a result, social environments that encourage communication significantly assist children in developing in the area of language development. On the contrary, when a child's social environment feels intimidating and stressful and communication is not effectively promoted, she is more likely to avoid speaking and may become more reserved. This feeling of insecurity can often slow down language development.

    About the Author

    Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

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