Communication is the most fundamental life skill for children and young people. The development of language begins even before they are born.  Professionals can support parents every step of the way.



When babies begin to hear the world around them, the most important sound they’ll discover is their parent’s voice. This familiar noise will lay the foundation for their social and emotional development, language and speech. Read more on supporting parents at this stage.


Birth – 1

From the moment your child enters the world, they begin using sounds and expressing emotions to communicate. Discover some simple actions that will help your child to respond to language cues and formulate their first set of sounds.

1 – 2

Between the ages of 1 and 2, children will typically start to talk, often starting with the words they hear a lot. Read our guidance on the things you can do to help parents at this stage.


2 – 5

Between 2 and 5 children will start to use questions and inflections to ask for something as well as developing an understanding of spatial concepts.

Key stage 1

The ability to listen, ask for help and follow instructions with multiple steps often develops in children once they start school. Learn how best to engage 5 to 7 year olds  in conversation and to spot the key signs that their speech is developing on track.


Key stage 2

Between the ages of 7 and 11, vocabulary becomes more complex and your child may tell jokes and entertaining stories as well as expressing their feelings more clearly. Read guidance on why it’s important for families to engage with their children on topics they show interest in and give them time to formulate their words.


Key stage 3

Between the ages of 11-14 a child’s speech, language and communication development becomes more gradual and increasingly sophisticated. Help parents learn how to spot the subtle signs that their child’s speech is becoming more refined and increasing in confidence.


Key stage 4

From 14 to 17, a child will continue to develop, using language and communication to form personal relationship, often sharing their feelings without being asked and telling engaging stories. Read our guidance on encouraging continued development.



As they reach adulthood, young people are able to maintain conversations for longer periods of time, confidently follow complex directions and change their language depending on the situation they are in. Explore how you can support them to develop further.