Source: NeuroNet Learning
When a baby cries out, parents are usually the first to respond. What the child cries out for (a bottle, more TV time, or baby-talk) affects the verbal interactions, or social feedback loop, between the parent and child. This social feedback loop has far-reaching impacts over the course of a child’s development, according to new research.
The findings, published in Psychological Science, revealed that increased verbal exchanges between children and parents can reach the millions over the first years of life. The quality of these verbal exchanges, results in substantial differences in children’s language development.
For example, parents are more likely to respond to children when the vocalizations are speech-related. In turn, children are more like to create speech-related vocalizations in response to parents’ spoken words, thus forming a social feedback loop.
To better understand verbal interactions between parents and children, the researchers studied 13,836 hours of daylong audio recordings of caregivers and children, ages 8 months to 4 years old. Of the 183 children participants, 77 had autism or some type of learning disability.
The participants wore a small audio recorder throughout the day. The recordings were then processed using language technology that identified who or what is making the sound. The software also detected the difference between speech-like sounds, crying or laughing.
The data showed that children who produced fewer vocalizations, such as children with autism, had less speech-related responses from adults. The result is less verbal interactions between the child and parent, reducing the opportunities the child has to learn the social protocol.
The differences in verbal interactions may account for the slower growth in speech-related vocalization and language development in some children. Therefore, parents should frequently talk to their child in the first few years of development, even if it’s just in response to cooing and other noises. Because, we know that before infants begin to talk in complete sentences, they pay close attention to the way a new word is used in a sentence.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics as summarized in ScienceDaily
Adults with head injuries are known to be at high risk for depression, and yet little research had been done on the topic related to children. In the abstract, “Depression in Children Diagnosed with Brain Injury or Concussion,” presented Oct. 25, 2013 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, researchers sought to identify the prevalence of depression in children with brain injuries, including concussions, in the U.S.
Using data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, researchers identified more than 2,000 children with brain injuries, reflecting the national child brain injury rate of 1.9 percent in 2007; and 3,112 children with diagnosed depression, mirroring the 3.7 percent national child depression rate that year. Compared to other children, 15 percent of those with brain injuries or concussions were diagnosed as depressed — a 4.9 fold increase in the odds of diagnosed depression.
"After adjustment for known predictors of depression in children like family structure, developmental delay and poor physical health, depression remained two times more likely in children with brain injury or concussion," said study author Matthew C. Wylie, MD, author of the abstract, "Depression in Children Diagnosed with Brain Injury or Concussion."
The study, the largest to look at an association between brain injury and depression in children and adolescents, “may enable better prognostication for brain-injured children and facilitate identification of those at high risk of depression,” said Dr. Wylie.