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Gift of the gab
Chatting to babies in a particular way boosts their intelligence and gives them a head start in life, a new study has found. Speech and language therapist, Dr Sally Ward, selected 140 nine-month-old children from Manchester. She then gave 70 of the parents detailed advice about the best way to communicate with their child and left the other 70 without guidance. The “communicating” parents were told to spend at least 30 minutes every day talking to their child, without any background noise, about subjets which their infant might take an interest in. More than six years later, and after regular checks had been kept on their progress, the children had IQ tests. Those in the talking group were, on average, a year and three months ahead of the other group. Nine children had IQs in the gifted category, whereas none in the non-talking group was as bright.
In a separate study at the American Academy of Paedriatics, experts have warned about the dangers of children under the age of two watching television. Research has shown that exposure to television is responsible for anything from delayed speech to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The problem with television is that it confuses infants, who block out the background noise coming from it. They consequently learn to ignore all noise, and this includes speech. Paedriatic and language specialists also disapprove of radio, which has much the same effect on a child’s language development.