What It Takes to Communicate

The act of giving and receiving communication isn’t simple.
Many different but related processes are happening in
your child’s brain and body when he communicates.
First of all, a child must be physically able to communicate.
This means that her physical development must be
within normal limits in these areas: hearing, vision, lung
function, brain function, muscle strength and the nervous
system’s ability to carry messages between the brain and the
Then, all of the parts of the body that do the actual
speaking must be developing and working the right way, including
the lips, tongue, teeth, mouth, nose, throat, palate
and vocal chords. All these components work together to
build the foundation for communication, and that takes a lot
of coordination.
Let’s look at four key building blocks of human communication:
reception, association, expression and memory.
 Reception is the ability to understand the meaning
of information that is received by hearing (auditory),
seeing (visual), touching (tactile), tasting (gustatory)
and smelling (olfactory).
 Association is the ability to take the information received
and relate it to other things. Associations are
made as the brain processes hearing and speech information
(auditory-vocal association) and through
sight and movement (visual-motor association).
 Expression is the ability to express needs, desires
and ideas through speech (verbal expression) and
physically through body movements and gestures
(manual expression).
 Memory, of course, is the ability to remember what
has been heard (auditory memory) and seen (visual

Child Development

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