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What is talking?

Talking is the ability to use the voice to clearly produce words and sentences to express one’s needs, wants,
thoughts and ideas. It also involves the ability to use different intonation patterns to depict emotions.

Talking includes:

  • Articulation (i.e. the ability to physically move the tongue, lips, teeth and jaw to produce sequences of speech sounds, which make up words and sentences).
  • Fluency (i.e. the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllables, words and phrases are said when talking).
  • Voice (i.e. the sound we hear when someone speaks).
  • Expressive (using) language (i.e. the use of language through speech to communicate wants, needs, thoughts and ideas).

Why is talking important?

Talking is important because it enables us to verbally get our messages across to a communication partner. It is important for a person to be able to produce sounds, words and sentences which are clear and can be easily understood and interpreted by others in order to be able to express basic needs and wants, right through to being able to engage in complex conversations. When a person has difficulty talking it can lead to how well they
can interact with others and can affect the development of language, literacy (i.e. reading and spelling) and social skills. A child who is having difficulties being understood can become frustrated and angry which may in turn lead to behavioural issues.

When a child has difficulties talking you may notice:

  • Gets easily frustrated
  • Avoids talking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uses a lot of gestures rather than words
  • Has difficulties spelling
  • Has behaviour meltdowns because can’t be understood