It is often said that infants / toddlers* develop in a focused manner. I am specifically interested in the notion that a quick development of speech occurs at the expense of motor skill development and vice versa.

Is there scientific evidence that speech and motor control development are indeed competitive, in the sense that a quick development of motor control inhibits speech development, or vice versa?

Can they develop more or less in parallel as well?

*With infants / toddlers I mean normal, healthy kids between 0 and 24 months of age.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean with either direction? And the combination of neuronal growth versus speech/motor development is a big leap. In humans, the former is pretty much not investigated (aniimal research or even in vitro). The latter, motor versus speech development, sounds like a answerable question. Obviously the latter canno be investigated in species other than humans as only we develop speech. Therefore, as of now, the question is quite unclear and too broad imo. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jun 20 '16 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Christiaan the question only concerns humans (infant/toddler, I thought this would be a sufficient classification). By either direction I mean that the development of the motor cortex and the speech center reflects a development either in favor of move or in favor of speech capabilities. Does the development happen simultaneously or is one capability usually stronger than the other. $\endgroup$
    – user190080
    Jun 20 '16 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Can I reformulate your question as: does faster speech development alwways occur at the expense of motor development, or vice versa? That way, we can leave out the cellular basis of the question, as that part is 1) virtually unanswerable and 2) unclear $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jun 20 '16 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Christiaan yes, you can! This still reflects the actual essence of my question (and that the neuronal part seems to be in a black box something good to know) $\endgroup$
    – user190080
    Jun 20 '16 at 20:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Christiaan very much indeed, thx! So you heard of the focused development as well as it seems, that's interesting. I am looking forward to some nice answers spreading some light... $\endgroup$
    – user190080
    Jun 20 '16 at 20:50

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