Posts Tagged ‘ language development ’

Babies’ Babbles Linked to Hearing Ability

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Baby Babbling Links To Hearing AbilityYou know those precious gaa gaa goo goo sounds your baby makes can melt your heart. But it turns out your little one loves to hear those sounds as much as you do!

A study conducted by the University of Missouri found that “infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling.”

The researchers examined a mix of babies, some with normal hearing and others that were candidates for cochlear implants, and found that the babies who had suffered hearing loss were less likely to babble as much as their peers (though “non-speech” sounds like crying and laughing were not affected by this either way).

The good news is after the babies with hearing loss received their cochlear implants, their levels of babbling reached the same as those who could hearand in a span of just four months!

“Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives,” Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions, said in a news release. “We know learning from others is important to infants’ development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 3 out of every 1,000 infants are born with some sort of hearing impairment. Is your child one of them? Read on to learn more about caring for a baby with hearing loss. 

Baby Development: Age 6 Months
Baby Development: Age 6 Months
Baby Development: Age 6 Months

Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Include Kids with Disabilities in the Classroom for Language Benefits

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

A new study that followed 670 preschool-aged children in Ohio for a year is urging that integrating children with disabilities, who are enrolled in special education programs in school, into regular-ability classrooms may have a remarkable impact on the special needs’ kids language skills over the course of a school year.  Laura Justice, co-author of the study and professor of teaching and learning at The Ohio State University, says that the results should encourage schools who are considering inclusion models where children with disabilities are placed in the same classroom as peers who are developing normally.  More from Science Daily:

“Students with disabilities are the ones who are affected most by the language skills of the other children in their class,” Justice said.

“We found that children with disabilities get a big boost in their language scores over the course of a year when they can interact with other children who have good language skills.”

In fact, after one year of preschool, children with disabilities had language skills comparable to children without disabilities when surrounded by highly skilled peers in their classroom.

“The biggest problem comes when we have a classroom of children with disabilities with no highly skilled peers among them,” Justice said. “In that case, they have limited opportunity to improve their use of language.”

Justice added that highly-skilled children’s language abilities were not negatively affected by having the special needs children in their classrooms.

Image: Preschool letters and numbers, via Shutterstock

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Premature Babies May Benefit from Early Adult Talk

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Hearing adults talking may have a significant effect on the cognitive and language development of babies who were born prematurely, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.  More from WomenandInfants.org:

The goal of the study was to test the association of the amount of talking that a baby was exposed to at what would have been 32 and 36 weeks gestation if a baby had been born full term, using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 3rd Edition (Bayley – III) cognitive and language scores.It was hypothesized that preterm infants exposed to higher word counts would have higher cognitive and language scores at seven and 18 months corrected age.

“Our earlier study identified that extremely premature infants vocalize (make sounds) eight weeks before their mother’s due date and vocalize more when their mothers are present in the NICU than when they are cared for by NICU staff,” explained Dr. Vohr.

At 32 weeks and 36 weeks, staff recorded the NICU environment for 16 hours with a Language Environment Analysis (LENA) microprocessor.  The adult word count, child vocalizations and “conversation turns” (words of mother or vocalizations of infant within five seconds) between mother and infant are recorded and analyzed by computer.

“The follow-up of these infants has revealed that the adult word count to which infants are exposed in the NICU at 32 and 36 weeks predicts their language and cognitive scores at 18 months. Every increase by 100 adult words per hour during the 32 week LENA recording was associated with a two point increase in the language score at 18 months,” said Dr. Vohr.

The results showed the hypothesis to be true.Dr. Vohr concluded, “Our study demonstrates the powerful impact of parents visiting and talking to their infants in the NICU on their developmental outcomes. Historically, very premature infants are at increased risk of language delay.The study now identifies an easy to implement and cost effective intervention – come talk and sing to your baby – to improve outcomes.”

Image: Mom holding infant’s hand, via Shutterstock

Keep track of your Baby’s growth with our helpful chart for girls and boys.

 

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

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Shy Kids May Be Able, But Not Willing to Speak

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Language delays are often diagnosed in children who are also very socially shy, but new research has found that shy toddlers may be acquiring language normally, but are less able to express themselves because of their shyness.  More from a release announcing the results:

The study, conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Connecticut, appears in the journal Child Development.

“Our findings suggest that inhibited behaviors like shyness don’t hamper language acquisition overall but instead relate specifically to how toddlers express themselves through words,” according to Ashley K. Smith Watts, graduate student, and Soo H. Rhee, associate professor of psychology, both of the University of Colorado, who were part of the research team.

The study also found that girls had higher levels of both shyness and language than boys. However, the degree to which shyness was related to language development was similar for girls and boys.

Researchers collected information from 816 children in Colorado who were primarily White but varied in socioeconomic status and who were representative of the population of Boulder. Information was collected at ages 14, 20, and 24 months through parent reports and by observing children during home and lab visits. The researchers assessed expressive, or spoken, language by asking children to imitate certain sounds and words (like /ai/ and “mama”), and by asking the children to answer questions verbally. They assessed receptive, or understood, language by asking children to follow instructions (“Give me the cup and ball”).

“Shy children may need help with developing their speaking abilities,” added Smith Watts and Rhee. “They may benefit from interventions that target confidence, social competence, and autonomy to support the development of expressive language. For example, caregivers can encourage them to be autonomous and arrange play dates with compatible peers.”

What career will your child have? Take our quiz to find out!

Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends

Image: Shy child, via Shutterstock

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‘Educational’ Videos May Not Be Effective

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Videos that aim to help children learn may be entertaining, but their educational value is under dispute by a group of researchers who have concluded that face-to-face social interaction goes further toward language development than any video program can.  More from Time.com:

It’s that dynamic interaction between the infant and her caregiver — a back-and-forth that static videos and television programs can’t provide — that is critical for efficient language learning. And a group of researchers from the University of Washington, Temple University and the University of Delaware explain why.

The scientists studied 36 two-year-olds who were randomly assigned to learn verbs in three different ways. A third of the group trained with a live person, another third learned through video chat technology like Skype, and the final third learned by watching a pre-recorded video of a language lesson from the same person.

Their results, published in the journal Child Development, showed that kids learned well in person and in the live video chat, likely because both scenarios allowed for an interaction between the child and the teacher, allowing the youngsters to be more responsive and therefore retain more from their experience. The children using the recorded videos, by contrast, did not learn new vocabulary words by the end of the 10 minute learning and testing task.

The findings confirm previous work that connected live conversations with better vocabularies among young children, but add another layer of understanding about why one-on-one interactions are so important to a developing brain. Nerve connections responsible for language building requires repetition and reinforcement, which can help to strengthen the correct and appropriate words or sounds and discard extraneous or inappropriate ones. It’s not that educational programming or DVDs are harming young minds; it’s more that they aren’t maximizing the infants’ ability to absorb and learn and pick up words and verbal skills more efficiently. So parking a child in front of screen for a few minutes isn’t going to hamper his ability to talk, but interspersing those videos with some one-on-one time engaging  in conversation could help to speed along the learning process.

Image: Child watching a video, via Shutterstock

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