Language development in the adolescent years is often less studied than in younger children. This is likely because of the misconception that pre-teens and teenagers have already fully acquired speech, language, and communication skills. But this is, in fact, not the case. Speech-language therapy for pre-teens and teens is essential as they are still developing their vocabulary. Likewise, pre-teens and adolescents are expected to use more sophisticated forms of grammar and social language at school and when interacting with their peers.
This process of language acquisition continues to develop throughout secondary school and even into adulthood. For parents and educators, the important thing to remember about language development in pre-teens and teens is that their speech, language, and communication skills must continue to improve because they are highly correlated with reading, writing, and social cognition.
Although there is a lot of variability in language development, there are certain milestones at every age that allow language and communication specialists to gauge a child’s skills. In very young children, these milestones include babbling for infants and combining words and using an average of 200-300 words for toddlers.
In the book, Language Development: An Introduction, these milestones are broken down, from a child’s first words to acquiring language skills throughout adulthood.