Yet another disparity caused by economic status – a recent study has shown that children who came from lower class families have poorer language skills compared to those who came from the upper class. According to this study, poorer children ages 5 to 6 are 2 years behind compared to their richer counterparts in terms of the national language development standard test results. The moment they enter school, richer kids are far more prepared. Hence, it results to a better educational performance.
The effect of talking to infants
Language development is crucial among infants. At this stage, they are exposed to different words and begin to comprehend what they hear. According to a research conducted by Anne Fernald of the Stanford University, it was revealed that at 18 months, infants coming from richer families already have real-time language processing proficiency. Upon reaching 24 months, the gap between rich and poorer children has become even wider. The main reason why this happens is because kids from poorer families are less exposed to child-directed speech. Their parents usually don’t take time to speak with them or assign someone to speak to the infant in their absence. Those who are from richer families on the other hand have bigger exposure to child-directed speech. Poorer infants only learn the language through overheard speech. According to this study, it is less effective in enhancing the infant’s language proficiency.
It’s time for change
As a result of this study, a parent-education intervention study was conducted. The said study is dedicated to low-income Spanish speaking mothers. Fernand and her colleagues put up this program in order to provide assistance to poorer Spanish speaking mothers. This program was named Habla conmigo or Talk with Me. It helps these mothers to provide support to their babies at a very crucial stage of language development. They are also taught strategies in order to hasten the language acquisition of their children. According to initial results of 32 families that were treated as subjects, the children have shown positive development. These children are also taught bigger vocabularies since they have shown better signs of learning the language.
Parenting style also matters
In a different study conducted among Australian kids, it was found out that parents who have better attachment patterns to their kids talk more about their emotions to them. As a result, a more profound parent-children emotion talk is developed. Aside from this helping the two establish a better relationship, it also facilitates in the language acquisition of the children. As they grow old, they become more responsive to what their parents say to them. When sent to school, these children also had fewer conduct related problems.
Allot time for children
These studies reveal that parents of poorer kids have the tendency to work harder and focus less on the development of their children. As a result, they fail to guide their children as they start developing essential skills such as language acquisition. It is therefore recommended that parents should take a few hours a day to speak with their children and show to them how important they are.