Early language acquisition is instinctive, but parents can have a big impact on accelerating development. Here are some tips to help get kids talking.
Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
How well does your child speak? Where did he learn? These are important questions that are closely related to how you, her parent, interacted with her during daily activities.
This is an extremely well written article that helps you learn the steps and strategies that will help your child develop a well developed language system. And guess what, it doesn’t cost anything but time playing and interacting with your child!
Let me know how many of these strategies you are using with your children. I would also love to hear of additional strategies that you found helpful.
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Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
This is a great idea which needs to be considered by all elementary schools. We are indeed seeing more children with mental health concerns, some of which is due to a better understanding of children but some is due to the repeated exposures they get to uncertainty, violence (personal or on TV in the news), and less freedom to explore the world in a safe way. Schools were charged with teaching children to be productive adults who understood and would follow their leaders (back in the 1800s) so this is simply a step back toward that foundation. Let’s support efforts to make this the norm not the promising practice.
Would you like a copy of my free report on oppositional children? Click here.
The long awaited data from the CDC came out today regarding the prevalence of autism in the US. Not surprising the numbers are still increasing, now at one out of every 88 children. This is still lower than some places in Europe or in Korea which came out a year ago with a prevalence of one child in 38. But the bottom line is that we need to look at how we are searching for and then providing intervention to to this population. Right now it is costing us $ 126 BILLION per year to care for individuals in the autism spectrum. With earlier intervention of sufficient quality and quantity we could bring those long term costs down significantly. But it means giving up old dogmas about how things are supposed to work or always have been done, and opening ourselves to the use of strategies that will actually help them. I am not just talking about early childhood, but education, vocational rehab, college, and even employment. Individuals in the autism spectrum are becoming a very important minority population in our society, who can either be productive members or economic drains. It is up to us to be willing to invest in them early so that they can invest in us later.
Talk to your baby’s physician to make sure that an autism screen with the M-CHAT is done at the 18 months exam and any time after that a concern is raised either by parents, childcare providers, or healthcare providers. Some children show more symptoms as they get older, so continued surveillance is important.
Over the last two weeks I have heard at least half a dozen times, that a child was put on the watchful waiting list before an evaluation or diagnosis would be made. These were all children ages 3-6 years of age suspected of being in the autism spectrum. The families were told that preschool or simply speech therapy once a week may be enough to meet their child’s needs.
We know that one child in every 110 is in the autism spectrum. We know that early identification and intervention provides the best outcomes. So why are we waiting on these children. The American Academy of Pediatrics came out in 2007 recommending that ALL children 18-36 months should be screened for autism at well child visits. If the screen is positive, further evaluation should be done to determine why the child was positive.
By age 3, a child in the spectrum has a high risk of developing poor coping strategies. He has a high risk of being kicked out of childcare settings due to behavioral meltdowns secondary to social emoti
onal communication problems, sensory problems, and restricted narrow interests that impair his functioning in his daily settings. The more he gets removed from different settings, the more stressed his family becomes, putting him at risk for aversive behavioral management techniques, inappropriate medications being prescribed, and/or verbal and physical abuse.
We need to be proactive with our children. Provide them with the interventions and accommodations from early on so that they can learn, develop skills of competence and responsibility, and be emotionally stable. The longer we wait, the more likely they will become part of the statistics of mental health problems, school dropout, and under or unemployment. We either pay it up front or pay a lot more years later. We need to learn how to choose wisely.