Early Communication Development

Infants enter the world without the ability to intentionally communicate with others. Over their first year of life, through the daily interactions they have with adults, they develop the skills they need to send communicative messages to other people.

Perlocutionary0-8 months

  • Responds to stimuli in the environment based on behavioural needs

  • Intention of messages are inferred by adults

  • At the end of this stage use behavioural means to meet needs (e.g., reach for desired objects, raise arms to be picked up by adult)

  • Concept of using behaviour intentionally to send messages to others is beginning to emerge

Illocutionary8-12 months

  • Intentional communication with others begins

  • Uses non-verbal behaviour that is conventional (e.g., gestures, eye gaze, giving objects, etc.) to send message to others around them

  • May use vocal behaviour to send messages as well, such as sounds or other noises

Locutionary12+ months

  • Infant is intentionally communicating with another person in conventional ways

  • Vocal behaviour develops into words used to communicate messages to others

  • May use words on their own or accompanied by gestures

From Birth To First Words: Activities to Support Your Baby’s Language Learning Journey In the First Year Of Life