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October 29, 2003


Rob Paterson

It's not really what they say but what they understand that is the point of measurement. But most important of all is that the process is based on conversation what they have heard and what was the nature of the words - many kids just get ordered around - you conversed - it's a cultural reality.Do they feel engaged or an object or ignored.

It's a new field but the evidence is there.

I think we can look back at our primate past and see the root of all of this in grooming. Babies need a lot of touch too and this too seems to be a large factor in opening up their developmental pathways.

Conversation is beginning to understood as a variant on grooming - your commentary - look this is your shoe etc - is also a sign of your care and love. A child you feels this knows that she is safe

Thank you for commenting and best wishes - as a grand father - I am going through this all over again by proxy


An interesting post.
I wouldn't want it to be interpreted that we should write children off at 6 if they haven't reached a certain level. Wasn't Einstein also dyslexic and a poor student?
I have 3 daughters. My oldest spoke very early, and by 1 1/2 was speaking in sentences. Adults were sometimes taken aback, but one elderly lady said, "well, there's a child that has been talked to".
I didn't realize until then, that it was true. From the moment they were born I was talking to them continuously - now we are putting on your pants, now we are putting on your shoes, now we are getting up, .....etc., etc. And reading, and singing and hugging, touching and cuddling.
All 3 have developed large vocabularies, and a love of reading and writing.
I think what children respond to is complete and undivided attention, even for only a portion of the day. (Probably good for the rest of us too) This is hard for busy parents, daycare providers and schools to give. Scary, indeed.

Robert Paterson

Dear Shawna
Sorry I have not replied sooner but I am travelling.

The issue is not speaking but understanding. How much does she comprehend?

Some very bright children speak late - Einstein was very late. Then it all pours out.

There are two pathways to help you. The first is to have as much touch as possible. Hold her as much as you can. The second is to converse with her - such as read to her with here in your lap. Ask her questions such as what is the doggie called or as you are dressing her point out that these are her shoes etc.

The point behind touch and conversation is to spend as much time as possible being fully engaged with here so that she in in an emotional dance with you.

Best wishes Rob


I have a 2 1/2 old little girl who doesnt say over 25-30 words,and I am concerned. They doctors have checked her ears which were fine. She understands what is told to her. She can point things out in a book when told or asked. Should I be concerned and how can I help her to talk more?

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