How do you know if a child has good language skills before they even understand language?

Language is arguably one of the most important cognitive abilities humans have. It is what allows us to communicate with one and other, convey emotions, and express emotions. That is why for cognitive psychology finding out what can impair a child’s ability to perform language skills is very important. The University of Chicago did a study to see if there are any indicators of future problems with learning language skills. First they looked at children from different economic statuses. In general, they found that economic status did not have an impact on future language capabilities. Although, they did find that how children learned language was different depending on their economic status. Then, they looked to see if they could predict language learning skills in infants based on the gestures they make. They videotaped children with their primary caregivers and were able to see that early gestures can be used to identify children with brain injuries that could lead to delay in language. The researchers also used what they saw to develop four hypotheses on language and learning development: early gestures can be a diagnostic for language delay, encouraging gestures can lead to children having a larger vocabulary when they start school, Diversified vocabulary use by caregivers can help children gain vocabulary and syntax, Specific word use can increase children’s understanding of numerical and special thinking. I think this article is interesting because it shows the importance of cognitive psychological study in the real world. It would make a huge difference in a child’s life if they can be identified as at risk of slow language learning before they can talk, this would allow them to get the help need immediately and not fall behind. Also, it would benefit any child if their parents understand the way to help them gain additional, more complex, language skills

3 thoughts on “How do you know if a child has good language skills before they even understand language?

  1. jennmoreland

    This was interesting to read. However, what kind of gestures do you mean? Do you mean sounds or hand gestures? I remember in my early childhood education class we had a similar discussion about language development in young children. We found while researching that children that were taught sign language as infants had better language development as they aged. This would be an interesting study to read more on and see if there was a definite way to improve language development in children.

  2. rguenthe

    This is post is interesting because my nephew is a slow learner due to a condition his has. He cannot speak very well and his little sister talks so much more than he does even though she is a year in a half younger than him. However, because he is so slow with learning language he has learned some words in sign language to help. As he does the sign language he also says the word that the sign means. I wonder if this also helps with improving language development.

  3. cbudd33

    Interesting to think about! Although I will say that it surprises me that SES does not influence language development of children. Language development absolutely depends on learning the language in the first place. To learn the language, a person must be taught that language. In lower SES homes, it has been shown that there is less parental involvement, as well as less money for proper schooling for children. However, on the other end of the spectrum, you would expect high SES homes to have their children learning earlier and more often than other children.

    Another question I have after reading this post is, can the experts determine language development OTHER than a language disability in observing infants’ gestures?

    Thank you for posting.

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