Communication Milestones

Speech-Language Pathologist Barbara Schacter discusses some major communication milestones in your child’s first year of life.
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Communication Milestones


- The very first develop milestone that parents should look at is eye contact. Eye contact begins when a baby and a mom look at each other. Eye contact is key for communication. The next issue is joint attention, and that's where a parent, or a child and a partner, share an event or an object or something, they are sharing and there's a togetherness about it. They're both focused on the same thing. Then comes the turn taking. Turn taking is important for social communication as well as everything else, because that's how life goes, we take turns. Otherwise, it's not a conversation. We speak, the other person speaks, it's a back and forth, give and take. So that is an essential skill that needs to be worked on with little ones who are developing these issues. Now, motor skills is an issue that needs to be addressed. Some children don't understand imitation. So we start with gross motor imitation. You can take them to a mirror, and they imitate your movements, you imitate their movements, they'll get the idea of gross motor imitation. That can move into fine motor imitation, and that's where you can start teaching your child some of the speech sounds, because that is more of a fine motor imitation. Toddlers are more interested in imitating sounds than they are at imitating words. So when you're playing with your toddler, when you push the car, don't just push the car but push it and say, "Vroom, vroom!" When you're beating on the drum say, "Bang, bang!" When you're popping bubbles say, "Pop, pop!" And soon when your toddler puts those things together, the cow says moo, and the car says vroom, and the drum says bang, bang, and the bubbles say pop, pop, all of those become sounds that will turn into words and words into phrases and phrases into sentences. So it starts with simple sounds that the children make.

Speech-Language Pathologist Barbara Schacter discusses some major communication milestones in your child’s first year of life.


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Barbara Schacter, LCSW

Speech-Language Pathologist

Barbara was raised in New England, then attended The George Washington University for both undergraduate and graduate school.  She began as a dance major, but soon realized that she might have had a colorful, but short career and she was looking for a profession that would inspire and challenge her for many years.  As luck would have it, G.W.U. had an excellent speech pathology and audiology department. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, the university offered her a fellowship for graduate school with an internship associated with not only their speech and hearing clinic, but with the George Washington University Hospital, as well. 

After graduate school, she secured a position in a private school for children with language and learning disabilities.  She followed that with a 10-year stint at a residential children's psychiatric center.  Longing to work with a more varied population, she then worked in a public school in New Jersey.  There, she developed and taught a language enrichment program for all kindergartners in the district and provided speech and language therapy for the two special education classes, as well as serving those students from kindergarten to sixth grade having articulation, fluency, voice, cleft palate, hearing impairment and language delays.  In 1992, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired by Saint John's Health Center to participate as a member on their cleft palate team as well as providing pediatric and geriatric out-patient speech and language services.  Several years later, she opened a private practice in Pacific Palisades, CA, which continues to this day.  She is delighted to say that she still gets a thrill out of the work she does...and that is such a gift!

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