How can My Baby Compass benefit a child?
Speech Skills – Learn how a child develops speech sounds and how you can enhance your child’s sound development (articulation)
Language Skills – See a vocabulary list of how many words a two-year-old should be using besides what categories they should understand. Learn how a child puts words together to make sentences and how you can improve your child’s development.
Cognitive Skills- Understand how the thinking and reasoning process works and how your child can learn through creative play.
Physical Skills- Provide opportunities to help your child develop large and fine motor skills that will benefit him for a lifetime
Social-Emotional Skills- Check what skills that encourage social interaction and independence
Nursery Rhymes/ Finger Plays- Learn the benefits of rhyming words and how they play an important role in your child’s sound development. Use these examples to make it easy for you.
Appropriate Toys and Activities- Use age-appropriate stimulating objects and toys that you can find around the house or in any toy store to benefit your child’s curiosity and passions.
Music – Incorporate music to improve your child’s attention, language and right brain ability.
Children all around the world have benefited from My Baby Compass including kids from Australia, Canada, China, England, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, England, South Africa, Sweden, Vietnam, & all across the United States!
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Think about the amount of time and money you spend on taking care of the needs of your child. The one area that will make a difference for the rest of your child’s life, is the quality time you spend building your child’s intellectual, social and physical growth. Do the activities in My Baby Compass and you will have a head start! Read what the research is saying:
A SUMMARY OF THE 30 MILLION WORD GAP
The importance of talking to your child has now been established by multiple studies but one of the first and most comprehensive was performed by Betty Hart and Todd Risley. Back in the 1960s, Hart and Risley were two young researchers based originally at the University of Kansas.
Hart and Risley’s original work focused on designing a program to be run with preschool age children in a nursery environment. The program was designed to build the language of these youngsters. Working with children from both an impoverished area of Kansas City as well as those of professors at the University of Kansas, they looked to build the language of the children and see if they could increase the rate of vocabulary growth. They initially had considerable success. The children responded positively to the activities, the size of their vocabulary increased and there was a marked spurt in their rate of growth. However despite this promising start, they found that their work didn’t have a lasting impact on the children they were trying to help. Although the children responded to the activities they conducted with them, once the program ended, the children’s vocabulary growth reverted back to its original trajectory.
Rather than be deterred, Todd and Betty turned their focus towards the children’s environment at home. They set out to capture every word spoken to the children; they transcribed the results and analyzed their findings. What they found were huge differences in how parents interact with their children and these differences had an enormous impact on the children.
They observed 42 children once a month for an hour in their own homes from when they were 7-9 months old and until they were 36 months old. In total they observed over 1300 hours of interactions and it took them a painstaking 6 years to analyze the data. What they found surprised even them.
They discovered that parents differ markedly in the amount that they talk to their children. Some parents were talking to their children three times as often as other parents. Some parents were talking to their child for 40 minutes of every hour and some for less than 15 minutes. Some children heard over 2000 words per hour, some as little as 616 words.
Secondly, there was a strong relationship between the amount parents talked to their children and the number of different words they used and the number of different words the child used. The greater the number of words the parents used, the more words the child used. Some parents used under 1000 different words and their children knew on average just over 500 words by the time the child was approaching three. Other parents used on average over 2000 different words and their children used over 1000 words. 86-98% of the words heard spoken by the child had also been used by the parents.
Hart and Risley went on to estimate the differences in cumulative experience between the most talkative and taciturn families. Working on the assumptions of a 14 hour day, children in the families using over 2000 words per hour would hear 11.2 million words a year compared to a child in a family using 616 words per hour hearing 3.2 million words. Multiply this by four and children in the talkative families will have experienced 45 million words compared to the less talkative families 13 million by the time they are going to school. In other words, some children had far more opportunities to learn language before they reached school than others. Over 30 million more opportunities to be precise.
Hart and Risley then went on to look at the performance of the same children when they were 9 or 10 years old. What they found was the children’s vocabulary at 3 years old was strongly associated with the children’s language ability at 9 or 10, both in terms of reading and spoken language. In other words, Hart and Risley’s results predicted the intellectual achievement of children six years later.
They also looked at what parents talked about. While they analyzed the speech in many ways, one was to simply to divide what was said into two categories, ‘business talk’ and ‘conversational talk.’ ’Business talk’ was the essentials, the commands and disciplines involved in looking after young children. ‘Conversational talk’ was all the other chit chat and gossip that parents engaged in with their children. Their findings showed all parents engaged in business talk. All parents had to get their children dressed, out the door, fed, washed and they had to keep them safe. But the more talkative parents engaged in far more conversational talk. They chatted with their kids and gave them running commentaries on what was happening. And it was the conversational talk that was particularly valuable. It was this non-essential talk that gave the children the richness of vocabulary and experience of language.
The implications of this research are fairly obvious. Talking to your child is incredibly important. Children need to experience language to learn it. And the more you talk the better. The parents of the children with the largest vocabularies were talking to their child nearly 500 times per hour. That’s on average eight times per minute or nearly ¾ of the time. If, like me, you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of trying to use 2000 words per hour, day in day out, then I hope you find the following fact comforting. It doesn’t really matter what you talk about. If you talk more, you’ll automatically be talking about more things and use a greater variety of words. The art is apparently just to chat away.
Betty Hart and Todd R Risley Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children (1995) and the Social World of Children Learning to Talk (2000)
SO DON’T THINK ONLY TEACHERS WILL EDUCATE YOUR CHILD!
Understanding Speech and Language Disorders
Twenty percent of children will experience a speech or language delay and only half of them will be discovered by the time a child is five years-old. The early years of a child’s development is crucial for establishing a positive pattern for creative learning. Communication skills are now becoming more important for early literacy and social interaction skills. Autism Spectrum Disorders is being diagnosed in 1 out of every 87 children. Two-thirds of our Fourth graders are not reading at the fourth grade level as determined by the 2009 National Assessment of Education (NAEP). The culprit is poor vocabulary skills and minimal background experiences for our children. My Baby Compass can be a parent’s guide in order to improve these areas.
The areas that a speech-language pathologist will evaluate and treat are:
- Articulation – sounds that a child is able to make
- Phonological disorders – a child fails to recognize the difference in sounds
- Vocabulary – a child doesn’t have age appropriate word usage
- Syntax (grammar) – a child isn’t combining words in phrases or sentences appropriately
- Fluency (stuttering) – is the interruption of the smoothness or flow of speech
- Hearing – a child is not able to hear normally causing problems with speech sounds or auditory processing
- Voice – a child’s voice is too soft, too loud or has a harsh quality which could lead to medical problems
- Non- Verbal communication – a child is not able to communicate through speech, which may require the use of an electronic symbol system (computer), sign language or a communication board
- Dysphagia (swallowing) – a child is not able to swallow safely and techniques are used to strengthen the musculature or manage the intake of food
WHEN DO YOU SEEK HELP FOR YOUR CHILD?
The best way to know if your child needs help is to understand normal development and your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Most parents look to their pediatrician for advice. but as research has proven, over half of the physicians don’t have time or are more concerned about a child’s medical condition (Nathan, 2011). A pediatrician has limited time at a child’s wellness visits and it would be best if a parent can work with their health care provider to determine if their child is developing normally. This is where My Baby Compass can help. If your pediatrician can see that there is a written recording of your child’s developmental progress, and if there are concerns, specific information will be available to refer your child to a specialist that can perform an evaluation. Vague comments such as: “I think something isn’t right.” Or “Grandma thinks he is slow,” may not get the desired results.
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