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Speech Development in Children: An Interview with Speech & Language Therapist Andrea Cortes | Part 2

Speech Development in Children: An Interview with Speech & Language Therapist Andrea Cortes | Part 2

Amanda: So how important is it for parents to actively encourage speech development and language development
in their children? In their babies, sorry, I should say. Andrea: Yes, exactly. I mean, this is vital. I cannot really stress
enough the importance of talking to your baby,
to your newborn baby. There are actually many research studies that have currently, yes,
being carried out that show that speaking to your
newborn will not only, develop their language, but it will actually increase
their cognitive performance. So, and you know, like
in very simple terms, this means that parents
who talk constantly with their children, will
actually raise smarter children. Yeah, so, I mean, this is
really like, I cannot really, stress the importance of this. Again, speaking from personal experience, I can say that sometimes
this is very hard, especially with newborns. You know, you have this tiny
little person who you adore and you know, like what
kind of conversation could you have with such a, you know, it’s a newborn in the end, right? You can tell your baby
how much you love him, how adorable she is but
what kind of conversation can you really carry out? So that’s why I understand that this can be sometimes very, very difficult. But it’s really one of
the most important times when they’re at the newborn
stage to talk to them. I mean that you can be very exhausted, sometimes you can even feel like you’re kind of like crazy
just talking and talking to the baby without getting
any kind of response. But really my advice would
just be to persevere, continue having tons of conversations and definitely this is something that I really also wanna
stress is to avoid just putting the baby may be in front of a TV. Sometimes I have seen that
maybe parents who kind of like, fill in the silence that sometimes it’s like you have
very long days with your child. Maybe you are on your own as a mother, maybe your husband has
already gone to work, and so you are the one
who’s there on your own. The simplest thing maybe just
to like fill in the silence, put the child in front of the TV. This really does nothing
for their development. You know, so I mean, possibly, maybe later when they’re
about 18 months old. Or if you wanna maybe
try like once a week, a little bit of TV, but
definitely before that it doesn’t do anything
for their development. Amanda: Right. So talking to them and,
is there anything else that you can do? Like I know that with my
first I actually taught her a bit of sign language
first rather than, well, I still spoke to her a lot, but from six months old, I
started teaching her signs. So by the time she was 18 months old, she actually knew the signs
for 30 different things, and she could communicate
using these signs, but she couldn’t necessarily
say the words yet. My in-laws were actually quite worried that she would not be
able to speak so much because she was signing so much. But is that like a problem? And for her it actually
turned out absolutely fine. She, my gosh, she speaks so much. It definitely did not inhibit
her ability to learn speech. But, I think it helped
to her communication but is there anything else that we can do for example, like that? Andrea: Yeah, for sure. I mean, so as you said, teaching babies some
sign language definitely should not affect their
language development. If anything I also believe that
it can help them, you know, like it boosts their language. But definitely I do
have a few suggestions. When the babies are newborns, I think it’s very important that parents, to narrate everything that they’re doing. You know like even like for example, when they’re changing the diapers, like just narrate what you’re doing, try to simplify the steps. The sequences are really, really helpful sequences also help pull out
with language stimulation. So like step one, what are you doing? Step two, like following, you know, like what happens
when you use a wipe, you know, like just really
like, it doesn’t matter, don’t feel like you’re crazy. Narrate everything that you’re doing. Once you have finished, are you going now to the kitchen? What are you gonna have for breakfast? Will you just continue, maybe
brainstorm a lot of ideas and then you will see that from one topic you will lead to the other so that you’re constantly
talking to your baby all day. Another great suggestion another great tool is reading. Reading or using books. Maybe even forget about reading the book. Just, use the book, use the illustrations to
kind of guide yourself. You can tell the story in your own words. You could also use
common or popular stories maybe like Little Red Riding Hood. Tell them this story using your own words and you will see how you actually use a lot more vocabulary than you’re used to. A lot more vocabulary than you use in your everyday language, which is also great for stimulating, yeah. already piecing their vocabulary. Songs, another great tool, you know, like singing simple repetitive songs. Amanda: Nursery rhymes, things like that. Andrea: Nursery rhymes, yes. Sing to them as much as possible. Use these nursery rhymes. Really at the beginning
you may think again that you’re a little
bit crazy like singing. Maybe that like he’s not
even making eye contact, but really believe me, this will pay up. There will be a time when
your child is, you know, like humming the tune or
going along with the tune and then gradually even putting
the words to the or yeah, like singing the lyrics to the song, so definitely they are absorbing, they are learning and literally,
their brains are growing. You know, like every time you learn, you make new neural connections, which actually, it expands the density of your brain Yeah, literally their brains are growing When they’re learning all of this. And then of course, once your child grows, once maybe he, she becomes a toddler, teaching them languages
actually a bit more easier, maybe even more fun. You can use any experience, you know, when you’re going out to maybe
to the store, to the market, make it an adventure, you know, like, Oh, where are we going? Let’s, or what are we gonna observe? Like look at the cars, look at the buses. Oh, so many people riding their bikes. You know, like again, kind
of like narrate everything just like you did when they were newborns. Maybe now even ask them questions. We’re going to the market, so what are we gonna buy? You know, like try and have
them make lists, you know, things that maybe they
can get at the market. What else? Also, maybe when you’re playing with them at one point maybe around 18 months, you will see that your
child begins to, develop, just like free play, you know? So, for example, my child
loves to pretend, pretend play. That like he’s making a
soup, like he loves that. So I like, use these opportunities. I use this opportunity all the time. So like what are the ingredients? I ask him a lot of questions. What are the ingredients in the soup? So he, for example, if
he uses like a tomato, like he has all of these little
play fruits and vegetables. So like, Oh, you’re using a tomato, so what color is the tomato? What does it taste like? And so, like, use these opportunities, like natural opportunities
to introduce new vocabulary like, so for example, I tell him like, Oh, we’re gonna stir the
soup, or maybe is it too hot? Do we need to let it cool down a bit? You know, like, so just like use all of these opportunities to, yeah. Introduce new vocabulary as well as to continue reinforcing other vocabulary. Amanda: Excellent. And what’s some of the
generalized milestones that parents should be
looking out for in development of their babies’ speech
or language development? Andrea: Well, yeah. When they’re newborns, I think one of the first things you begin to notice maybe around
four months of age is that, they begin to, with their eyes, they begin to try and locate where certain sounds are coming from. Like if you’re talking to them
maybe a bit from a distance, like they begin to move their eyes, later on you could also notice
maybe around six months, that they begin to respond
when you say their names. So if they hear their names
they’re gonna turn around. And then so like gradually,
little by little, maybe by seven months, they
are, babbling a lot, you know, like, well, the cooing sounds, again, this is something
you should notice with them. And they’re very, very
young around seven months, a lot of babbling, a lot of just like what we call nonsense syllables, you know. And then of course, by
the time they’re one, you are going to want to
hear them, say a few words. And then from this stage onwards, it’s just about increasing a lot of words, around one and a half,
they should have like maybe around five to 10 words
with like, everyday objects, like juice, milk, mama of course, dada. And then little by little this becomes, like the usage of words becomes now maybe they’re forming very, very simple phrases. Right? And language of course,
I mean this is a very, very general, lineup
of language milestones. Language of course, does not stop developing until a child is around five years of age. Amanda: Right, Wow! Excellent. And what’s some of the advice that you would give to
new mothers in general? Andrea: Well, I wanna start off by
saying that definitely I love being a mom. I love, you know, just
being with my little one. But I mean, having said that, I also don’t wanna sugarcoat motherhood. I think motherhood, it’s
a very, very tough job. And I sometimes feel that no
one really tells you like, you know, like really, or like bluntly says,
like, yes, it’s hard. I think like in a way we, all mothers are worried about being judged But I mean, I wanna tell them that, I wanna tell new moms or moms to be, you definitely should not feel like that. You shouldn’t feel like you’re alone. Everybody has had these
feelings of like, inability, like, you know, like,
when you become a mom, you question yourself all the time. Am I doing the things right? Like, is this gonna harm my baby? It’s of course, like these
feelings of incapacity that are like, Amanda: Self-doubt Andrea:Yeah, of course sometimes
that you don’t love having, Because, yeah, like, as I said, you’re not alone with these feelings. We have all been there. But just like with anything, maybe I’m gonna compare like,
it’s definitely not the same, but it’s like having a new job. You know, like starting out on a new job. Like you also have a lot of self-doubt. You don’t know if what you’re
doing is the right thing, but again gradually
with practice with time, like you begin to get better at it and it’s the same with being a mum. It’s like there is kind of this moment where everything begins to flow, you know, so, it will get better. And then, once you kind of
like feel like you’ve got this, I think that it’s the best moment. It’s like when you definitely feel like, I’m good at this and then
you can even like enjoy it, have fun and just continue
being in love with your baby. So definitely I would say forget about trying to be in control. You can do this. I used to be a person
who wanted to like have a lot of things in control. This is like definitely
probably the, you know, like my biggest takeaway is that, flexibility is actually probably
the key to my sanity now. Like, yeah, like you just, you’re gonna have to learn
to be flexible all the time. So many variables that you cannot control. So then, yeah, like, again, once you kind of
learn that it’s okay, you will get better at this. And I guess, from my own
experience, I can say that I will now forever be tired, but it’s not the same
as being sleep deprived. I can say that, you know,
like, it’s so, yeah, like even though I’m tired, I really believe that
this job is completely and like totally worth it. You know, like I absolutely
love being a parent and I just, I have so much fun everyday. Amanda: I agree. It’s the best job in the world. Well, thank you so much
for chatting to me today. Andrea it’s been so enlightening and I’ve really loved chatting with you and I’ve certainly learned a lot and I hope everybody else has. Thanks. Andrea: You’re welcome.

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