Home » Parenting » Communication, reading and child development: An interview with Dr Amy Scott

Communication, reading and child development: An interview with Dr Amy Scott

By Charlotte Cretney aka Little Hepburn

Last week we had a mini crisis parenting! I realized for the 100th time in my career parenting, you do not really know what I’m doing with this concert mom! My main concern was if I was teaching Audrey enough. The activities carried baby, read it, do puzzles, cooking and always talking, but I was wondering was this enough?

Should I be doing crossword puzzles? Headstand while the alphabet backwards, or enrollment in Mandarin and yoga at 2 years is recited? All jokes aside, I really wanted a good sound advice and after chatting with some friends who seemed to be in the same boat as me, I decided to get an expert who can give us any advice and share with you all! YAY.

The interview below is with the beautiful Dr. Amy Scott (PHD in Education and BA in the development of speech and language).

I learned a lot from this interview on the Development of Children, Speech, milestones, reading and it also refers to the learning difficulties as well. I’ve been using some of the techniques of reading and communication are described below with Audrey and her vocabulary has been growing every day!


experience and qualifications :.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Speech and Language and doctorate in Education

your day job
I have a few !! Manager of research at the University of Canterbury. The project I’m working on a project of several million dollars of research looking at the factors that influence the success of children reading at school entry. Readers Little Bird Owner – an expert curated subscription book children 0-5 years old. Mama Ivy -. 13 months

Tell us a little about yourself and your family:
are a family of 3 plus 1 dog, 1 cat and about 30,000 bees! My husband, rice, is a high school teacher and juggling a few different roles. We are very fortunate to be parents to the brave and hilarious adorably Ivy, our 13 months old. We are a very busy family, but in our spare time we like to visit the farmer’s market, taking a walk, spending time in the garden and with family and friends. We live in a pretty lovely street with awesome neighbors, some of whom are our closest friends, so they tend to spend much time wandering back and forth across the road with our various family members – is the best type of people you could imagine!

How did you become interested in child development?
As a teenager I worked as a nanny and always liked all different stages of development of children. He was especially interested in babies and how their environment seemed to have a huge impact on their development, even from a very young age (this was before I knew the environment was of course important!). Also I have an older brother with Down syndrome and was always exposed to a variety of individuals with special needs. All these experiences opened my eyes to the world to help people be the best versions of themselves, if it comes to reading books with them from the day they are born, or support for a non-verbal teenager to learn to use their new communication device. I knew I wanted to work in a job where I got to help people every day, and I’m so lucky that this is the way of life that I could take!

Can you give mum some advice on what are good ways to promote the development of healthy communication for your children?
From a very young age, the most important thing you can do for their development of communication as a parent is to talk with your child. Children are amazing little sponges with the most amazing learning ability, so the greater engagement and interaction they receive more learn.

From birth to around 2 years of age:
Most important for language development of the child is that many words are heard – by that I mean the talk often. In my house, that would look a little’m keeping a running commentary, because I’m almost always talking to my daughter and talk about what I’m doing or she is engaged. This might feel silly, while chatting away about what color socks are folded, or how orange and Crunchy carrot is that she is eating, but these seemingly simple, everyday activities are learning experiences more powerful for more little ones.

as children, its information capacity increases more complex, so we need to keep this exposure to language and provide excellent models for children who are learning from us. This means properly use the grammar and words of things, and resisting the temptation to copy its version, even if it’s super cute! Children of all ages to learn through experience and do – so the game is the best way to provide a great learning environment for your child. Books, outdoor activities and imaginative play are just a few great ways for children to learn. As adults, it is not your job to dictate, rather just follow your example and talk about what interests them. If your child is spending time examining the leaves, you can tell they have fallen from the tree because it is winter, and do not feel so crispy, and that is brown. Suddenly this sheet picked up off the ground has become an impromptu lesson on seasons, texture and color. Also do not be afraid to let your child learn and explore for themselves, especially as they age. independent play is also very important for learning.

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With older children who would like to make time to talk about what they did and saw and heard and smelled and felt when they were doing the activity x, after the fact. That way you can still create a very rich language experience for them, but have the property of experience and can guide the conversation to what interests them.

This could be somewhat controversial, but the professional recommendation is to keep children away from TV screens and other (eg applications, YouTube, etc) until they are at least 2 years old. Between 2 and 5 years old, it is recommended that children have no more than 1 hour daily supervision (that means look at them!), Quality programs. Despite what people think, the screens are not supportive of children’s learning at an early age. Children need response, involving the partners of communication without talking, moving images. Interestingly, there is a very strong movement in Silicon Valley for children IT developers to attend schools without filter, as they have begun to recognize how the screens may negatively influence the language development of children, ability to creative thinking and imaginative play, and behavior.

What are some easy fun activities / you recommend to do at home
‘ve talked a little about this above – the simplest things can be the most fun and appealing to children.

From a language and reading development perspective, something you can do to create links between a book and experience, more learning will happen. For example, you can read a book with her baby about penguins living in Antarctica. Linking activities could include playing with ice cubes and talk about how you feel the cold of ice and it would be cold where penguins live book; singing a song or rhyme about penguins, talking to your baby about penguins (where they live, what they eat, they have feathers, etc.) and looking at other images of penguins.

With young children you can read a book about shapes and then play with some clay and make the shapes of the book, naming and talking about their characteristics (eg, number of faces that have) and other things are the same shape. When you’re on the playground or just playing with toys, you can point out the different forms and relates back to the book – “this block is a square, which has 4 sides, like the square in his book form! “.

Older children learn through activities, but also conversations and questions about what they are reading. You could talk to your child about what the character might be feeling, what will happen next, and what it could do if it was in history. All these types of questions are asked your preschooler to think beyond the “here and now” and are extremely important for the kind of language you need to use and understand when they arrive at school. Activities they enjoy could include doing “research” to find out more about an animal or place they have read in a book, learning about the author and / or illustrator of the book, reading other books by the same author, the performance the history, or rewrite their own version.

Both toddlers and preschoolers children will benefit from talking about the letters and their sounds to read, too. You could start talking about rhyming words (explaining that sound the same), and then moving on to the family letters, and the letter of its name starts with / mother / father / dog etc. Point to the letter on the page, say the letter name, the sound it makes, and what starts with that letter. For example, “there is a d, d-d-d d, dog and Dada start with d!”. While everything I’ve spoken begins with a book, it is easy to see how the simple act of reading one story, can become a very rich learning experience for children of all ages. All books The Little Bird readers come up with ideas and tips like this, for how you can use the book to bring your child’s learning for the next level.

Can you give some tips to encourage reading to their infants, toddlers, children?
Read, a lot! Nothing and everything. Set a good example and let your child see you reading. They have a lot of quality book available at all times. Visit the library!

Fav book for babies, toddlers, children?
so hard to choose! Definitely choose books that have great pictures with much to talk about, for children of all ages. Probably easier for me to say my favorite authors / illustrators: Oliver Jeffers, Donovan Bixley (amazing illustrator of classic songs), Alison Jay (also illustrator, beautiful books without words), Andrea Beaty, Chris Haughton, Benji Davies, Lynley Dodd, Margaret Mahy, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl.

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Tips to improve speech with their children and easy to work first words?
To the extent possible your child to see his face when spoken to. Children learn a lot through observation and modeling, so it is important that you are able to see how to make sounds with his lips and mouth when you are just learning themselves. Try to speak clearly! Mumbling will be difficult for the little ones to understand and is not useful for their own development of speech! First words should always be the most practical and functional words, or things your child is really interested. Things like mom, dad, milk / bottle, over, over, up, down. Follow your child’s interests as well – Ivy loves animals so many words at the moment are the animal names and sounds. Baby sign is a fantastic thing to start doing with your baby, if only for a few basic words. It gives them a way to communicate what they are thinking long before they are able to express in words. Children comprise about 3 times more than can be said, making gestures as pointing, and using a medium like the signal will really help get your message across.

Can you give us some general guidelines of what age children should be hitting milestones in its development?
The stages of development can be a help, but also a point of stress for many parents. It is important to have an awareness of your child’s development, but it is not useful for comparing and worrying about what your child compared to others – but now I have my own daughter know how hard it can be! As a rule, a child of two years must be understood about 50% of the time by strangers, 3 years old, 75% and 80% of the time, and a child of 4 years 100% of the time. This does not mean that his speech will not have still sounds that are wrong, but it does mean that they can convey their message. It’s a pretty broad topic to condense milestones down, as there are so many!

From a communication perspective it is probably easier to talk about red flags, which are things that are troubling and suggest that any assessment of a professional is a good idea.

By the age of two * child does not have sentences of two significant words (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months * child does not follow simple two-step commands such as “get the ball and put it in the table “* Speech is not at least 50% understandable * the child can not point to pictures of familiar objects in the books

When asked for three years * child is not using three four word phrases * Speech is not at least 75% or more understandable * child leaves the beginnings or ends outside most words * child can not accurately answer yes / no questions * child can not answer simple questions “wh” as “who is that” or “where the truck is” * not play with other children .

The general danger signs * Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age * child never gestures or mimics / copies * the child does not seem to understand speech, or seems unable hearing * children never develops beyond repeating the words others again and again.

Do you have any advice for mothers who may have children with learning difficulties, or wonder if your children are behind in their development?
For mothers who have a child with special needs or learning disabilities, first, I would like to send a big virtual hug and remind you this is not your fault and you are doing an amazing job! Only recognize and accept that your child is having problems is a huge and difficult step. It is useful to recognize all the wonderful and special things your child can do, and what they have to offer the world, even when it seems that all the attention is focused on what they can not do / where are lagging behind. Seek help from professionals and enjoy what they say, but also use your instinct and unique knowledge of your child to help guide decision-making.

make the most of available professionals and be an advocate for your child – you know them better! If you are worried about your child, have them checked out. If your child is younger than 5, it may refer them himself for communication or performance evaluation by calling the office of the local Ministry of Education or your preschooler / can be referenced in its name. For school children, referrals go through school, so ask your child’s teacher that the person in charge of special needs is (often called a SENCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator). Expect a waiting list. See early as it is always better to be in the system, even if their needs are not serious enough at the time.

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