Saturday, 5 February 2011

'Parents ARE to blame for many of the speech, language and communication delays' the headlines should have said!

Unfortunately, the press took the leading paragraph from the Hello press release literally (see our last blog post) and gave the parents the impression that it is OK to let your children watch TV for hours on end and that a lack of  interaction with your children has no bearing on their communication progress. Headlines such as 'TV not to blame', 'We cant blame parents' are both mis-leading and mis-guided. They actually had a negative effect rather than positive.

What the Hello campaign was alluding to, were the long term difficulties that around 7% of children will have. These are severe delays or disorders which happen through no fault of anyone, least of all the parents.

However, up to 50% of children in some areas do not have sufficient levels of spoken language to begin to learn written language as they start school. These difficulties can be transient so that they will improve with the right help. These families are definitely the cause of their delay. Children who are baby-sat by a screen, whether that be PC, computer or PS3. A lack of proper interaction with them means that children don't learn rules of conversation or social skills that go alongside. Studies have shown that babies do not become babbling by chance, if they are not communicated with, they wont try to practise using the sounds of language. Babies will even stop crying if no one responds when they do. A child won't learn vocabulary if they don't hear the words. The way we learn language is by being exposed to it repeatedly.

We are facing a crisis yet no-one seems to understand. I was hoping that the Hello campaign would hi-light the issues and promote good practise, yet January's theme was just that and I didn't see any headlines to that effect, did you? I can spend hours on this, my personal soap box topic, because it's something I believe is vitally important. What sort of society are we going to become if our communication skills are falling apart?


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  1. I think society's communication skills in general are in decline!

  2. I thought it was a totally missed opportunity to tell the difference between transient problems and more serious ones.
    Jenny Jones

  3. Thank you for your comments, I agree with both of you!