Speech processing: what every teacher should know

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Adults often take speaking and listening for granted – but these complex processes involve skills that must be learned

Teachers should be aware that children develop 'speech processing' skills at different speeds, writes Chris Parr

The way humans talk is hugely complicated. In fact, the complex ways in which we produce speech – the variety of sounds and noises we make, along with the different emphases we place on sounds when talking – are unparalleled in the animal world.

As adults, we can fail to appreciate this. Speaking and listening appears to be so natural, and easy, that we take it for granted. But speech perception and speech production – the two facets of what is known as “speech processing” – are hard. They involve complicated neurological processes, and ones that have to be learned, just like any other skill. ...

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