Using sensitive new methods that measure brain activity, it has been shown that the areas of babies’ brains that will later be responsible for speech become activated when merely listening to words at six months of age.
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Even before six months of age, babies’ brains are primed for acquiring language. Before six months, spoken words activate listening areas, but not speaking areas – yet. By twelve months of age, the activation of speaking centers during listening is very strong. This indicates that when a child hears spoken words, even before they are able to utter their first words, the brain is working to prepare the circuitry that will later help to form the words they are hearing.
These very recent and significant findings show us that hearing spoken works directly impacts on the neurological development of the brain areas responsible for language.
Work showing why and how early language experiences shape the brain’s future architecture underscores the importance of a robust early language environment. From the very beginning, conversation with your baby establishes the roots and foundations of good language skills.
A note about the author:
Dr. Randa Grob-Zakhary, MD Ph.D. is the Founder of The Babyboost Institute for Early Learning and Development. Want more tips? Purchase Babyboost: 50 Critical Facts on Amazon.