The rapid development of language ability in young children is one of the most remarkable feats negotiated by the human brain. By the age of six the average child has a vocabulary of 14,000 words and can use them in lengthy sentences that follow complex rules of syntax and grammar.
Typically parents eagerly await their baby’s first words and first sentences, and report with pride the landmarks of verbal achievement. Most beaming young parents equate early speech with greater intelligence, and worry about speech that is delayed.
Research shows that in fact a great deal of variation is normal in the rate of speech development in the first 30 months of life. Two- year olds can vary in their vocabulary from ten words to 150.
Many invested parents work hard to enhance their child’s language skills. Some strategies are very effective, such as reading books out loud to children or playing “What is it” games with toddlers and infants, or “show and tell” with young children. Other strategies, particularly technology-based ones, have been very disappointing. Educational videos have been a dismal failure at improving verbal skills in young children, with the hours spent watching them directly correlating in the outcome research to a drop in vocabulary development compared with control groups. The research consistently indicates that children learn language by interacting with other humans, not by watching a television screen, no matter how “educational” the content.
Demographics play a big factor in language development, with educated middle-income parents verbalizing about three times as often to their children as low-income, low-education parents. The educated parents are also typically much more positive, with statement of praise outweighing criticisms at a rate of six to one. (low education/low income parents typically criticize more than they praise, at a rate of three to one.) The result? Children of educated parents, when entering kindergarten, typically demonstrate more than twice the vocabulary of their peers from low-income, low-education families. The children of the educated parents also demonstrate significant advantages in their ability to handle stress.
This program will examine the normal developmental landmarks of speech development, delays and challenges that are typically normal and temporary, and those indicators of language problems that suggest a need for professional help.
Healing Talk Radio will stream live on Planetary Streams talk radio on Wednesday, August 17 at 10 am. To listen, tune in to planetarystreams.com through the link at the upper right. Healing Talk is syndicated to two other internet radio stations: Web Campus World Wide Radio and Shoutcast. This program will replay three times daily for a week starting Thursday, August 18th on all three internet stations.