Health Minute: How Parents Talk To Infants Affects Child’s Speech Development

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NEW YORK – How parents talk to infants is strongly linked to how the child’s speech develops, according to an on going study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study showed that children whose parents who were coached in parentese, a near-universal speaking style distinguished by higher pitch, slower tempo and exaggerated intonation.

Showed significant gains in conversational turn taking and vocalizations between 14 and 18 months.

Coaching meant educating the parent on benefits of speaking to their babies, and being encouraged to engage the child in back and forth conversational-type exchanges.

One of the authors says children of those coached parents, produced real words such as ball or milk at almost twice the rate of children whose parents weren’t coached to speak parentese.

A previous study on the same group of babies showed parents who were coached to use parentese, had babies who babbled more and had more words by 14 months than those who were not trained.


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