What Factors Affect Language Development in Early Childhood?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2019
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The factors that affect language development in early childhood are varied and depend on a number of internal and external factors. Internal factors refer to prohibiting factors that may be the result of some form of impairment or physical debilitation that makes it hard or impossible for language development in early childhood to occur. External factors refer to other types of factors that may be in the form of input or lack of input that also limits the process of language development in early childhood.

Internal factors that may affect language in early childhood include different sorts of physical and mental conditions. For instance, a child with autism may experience a delay in language development in early childhood due to the effects of this disorder. Children with even more serious problems, such as acute cases of cerebral palsy, may not even develop the ability at all. Another physical factor that may affect the ability of children to develop early language skills includes any type of accident that affects or damages the brain.


One of the external factors that will affect language development in early childhood is a situation where a young child does not receive the necessary stimulus to form language skills. Such stimulus may be in the form of interaction with other people or another form of social interaction. An example of the effect from the lack of this type of input can be seen in cases involving children who were deprived of the contact of other people through various circumstances, such as acute neglect or abuse. These children usually have a hard time learning how to interact with other people after they are removed from that environment. This is due to the effects of their earlier deprivation of human contact and the fact that children usually have a narrow window within which to develop language skills, which usually diminishes considerably after the age of three.

Another external factor that affects language development in early childhood is a child's environment. For instance, a child who is raised in an environment of abuse or frequent violence might be slow to develop language skills due to how that environment affects the child. In this case, the external factor is internalized and is manifested in the form of symptoms like extreme anxiety, fearfulness and withdrawal. Such symptoms also include a delay in the normal development of language or speech in the child.


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Assuming the child is neurotypical, home environment is a huge factor in early language development. A child who grows up in a home where poor grammar and language are used will usually start school with poor language skills, meaning the teacher must overcome a tremendous deficit from the get-go.

My parents insisted I use correct grammar, even before I started to school. As a result, I started first grade with above grade level language and comprehension skills because I had been exposed to proper usage since I was born. It is a gift that has served me well my whole life and I am so grateful for it.

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