Monday, March 15, 2010

Turn off the TV & TALK to your Child!

Makers of educational videos were stunned when a study from the University of California at Irvine revealed that children aged 12 to 24 months did not improve their vocabularies by watching dvds. After six weeks of tube time, the studied toddlers did not demonstrate they had learned the target words.

After years spent in special education, I believe that expecting children to learn from video content presented in isolation is unrealistic. Children need the following:

  • Human interaction--talk, sing, read, and encourage infant vocalization
  • Exposure to symbols of all kinds, including pictures and the written word
  • Less time in front of video-type entertainment (this actually makes some disabilities, including Autism and ADHD worse)
I still remember waiting for over an hour in a telephone store with my six-month-old son. I spent the time walking down the row of phones telling him the colors. This entertained both of us. A crabby old man approached to inform me that, in his opinion, my baby didn't understand a word. I informed him that I was teaching my child to talk in the same way he had learned--frequent repetition.

Sometimes old-fashioned ways work best.