Posts Tagged ‘ language development ’

Baby Talk: How Moms and Dads Differ When Speaking to Newborns

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Study Examines How Mothers and Fathers Converse With Their Infants

Hey, new dads: When it comes to talking to your infant, it’s time to speak up! A new study published Monday online in Pediatrics shows that mothers are much more likely to baby talk with their children in their first few months.

That may not come as a big shock, but the same study also found that moms appear to talk more to their baby daughters, while dads appear to talk more to their sons.

The study analyzed 16-hour sets of audio recordings collected from 33 late preterm and term babies’ communication with their parents: during the birth hospitalization, at 1 month old, and again at 7 months. Today.com reports:

Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found that moms interacted vocally more with infant daughters rather than sons both at birth and 44 weeks post-menstrual age (equivalent to 1 month old.) Male adults responded more frequently to infant boys than infant girls, but the difference did not reach statistical significance, say the researchers.

The study also found that mothers responded to their babies’ vocalizations 88 to 94 percent of the time, while dads only did 27 to 30 percent of the time, according to Today.com.

By the time a baby is born her ears and the brain area that responds to sound are well-developed, and previous studies have shown that the more you talk with an infant the earlier she is likely to talk.

“It seems to me that adults talking to children is absolutely the most cost effective intervention a family could do to improve children’s language,” Dr. Betty Vohr, study co-author and professor of pediatrics at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School told TIME.com. “The more we learn about it, the more we can inform parents of the power they have in just talking and interacting with their infants to improve the long term outcomes for their child and their school readiness.”

Is your little one just learning to talk? Track her development in our month-by-month timeline

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

Photo of mother with baby girl courtesy of Shutterstock.

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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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