For kids learning new words, it’s all about context

Deb Roy, a researcher at MIT, recorded every waking moment of the first three years of her son’s life. Roy and his research team collected data to shine some light on how babies learn to say words.

Roy and his wife set up 11 cameras and 14 microphones around the house and recorded whenever their son was awake. They analyzed the data and looked at the features of words their son was exposed to compared to his first words. They found that it is not the number of times the word was said in front of the child, rather a feature called distinctiveness that was most effective. The frequency the word is said has some effect (if a child has never heard the word they will not say it), but the distinctiveness which is the context the word is said is most important. When we say a word in a specific context, place, or time we attach meaning and value to the word.

Distinctiveness puts constraints on a word which helps the child determine its possible meaning.

At Speech Therapy Works, we follow this model. By following the child’s lead you capture their interest and attention. When you fill their world with as many words as possible, you then expose them to words that are most important to them and in their immediate environment. At Speech Therapy Works we teach parents how to ask less questions, rather than test the child knowledge. We emphasize the importance of acknowledging the child’s strengths and commenting on anything they are doing or show interest in, this will expose them to all sorts of new words.

At speech therapy works, we provide speech therapy at home for children as well as speech therapy in the clinic. We provide speech therapy across the GTA in places such as Etobicoke, Woodbridge, York Region, Markham, Ajax to name a few, by sending our clinicians to your home for one-on-one speech therapy.

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