Could video games play a positive role in the life of children with language impairments? It might well be the case, as I found out earlier this year at an excellent workshop on language difficulties. The presenters, Professors Gina Conti-Ramsden (University of Manchester) and Kevin Durkin (University of Strathclyde), touched on various topics, including the of role modern media in the life of children and adolescents with language difficulties. The workshop began with a questionnaire asking us which modern media (TV, radio, newspaper, DVD’s, apps, picture books, ebooks, video games) we believed to be positive/negative for children with a language impairment. Then, one presenter asked us which form of media we used ourselves. Most hands went up for things like TV, newspaper, DVD's, books, mobile phone, etc. When we were asked how many of us were using video games, only one hand went up (and went down almost immediately, in amongst good natured laughter). The person who had put up her hand giggled nervously and I must confess that I felt a stab of relief at the thought that I wasn’t a user of video games. Little did I know that this workshop was going to challenge my thinking and make me change my mind on the value of video games.
All children have something to say, however some children start talking later than expected. Children usually say their first words between 9 and 16 months, with the average being around their first birthday. Often, the first word is “Mum” or “Dad” but it can be anything, for example, pointing to a dog and saying “woo-oo” to imitate the dog barking. It doesn’t need to be pronounced correctly and can be an own word (e.g. the child says “baba” for “bottle”), but as long as your child uses it consistently to refer to someone or something, it is a proper word and it counts!
Looking for language tips, activities and ideas? This blog is for parents, speech pathologists, teachers, educators and anyone with an interest in speech and language.