House Calls

FAL 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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Page 17 of 54

Talking Heads New research contributes to the discussion about language development in young children P arents have long taught their children about the importance of taking turns. Now, we have another reason to encourage back-and-forth exchanges: language development. According to a small yet diverse study by experts from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania, young children who actively engage in dialogue with adults, rather than merely listening, gain stronger pathways between areas of the brain critical to comprehension and speech. In addition, kids that regularly conversed with parents and caregivers scored higher on verbal skills tests. The new study, published in August in the Journal of Neuroscience, marks a shift in the discussion about adult- child verbal communication. Since the 1990s, early childhood language development recommendations have primarily focused on introducing kids to as many words as possible. (This approach stems from observations that children of higher socioeconomic backgrounds are exposed to some 30 million more words than those of lower socioeconomic backgrounds, known as the "word gap.") However, this latest study's findings offer a fresh talking point: the way in which parents talk to their children may speak louder than how much time they spend talking, regardless of background or socio- economic class. Now it's your turn. To turn up the volume on your little one's future verbal and cognitive skills, just start the conversation. h o u s e c a l l s { fall 2018 } 13

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