Just as a child is programmed to learn to walk, they will show themselves capable, during the first years of life. They will develop body language including an effective stock of words to communicate with those around them. The vocabulary, that is to say all the words that the child recognizes and uses, is a key component to a good understanding and expression in the short and long term. Here is some advice for parents and even teachers, to help children learn language easier from day one.
As soon as your baby is born, certain habits are good to follow! Regarding language, producing simple but complete sentences is an essential basis. It is recognized that a child needs to be exposed several times to a new word in order to integrate it into their lexicon and then be able to use it in speech. In addition, memorization of a new word is maximized if you present it through different sensory channels: for example, for the word ”stethoscope”, you can show a picture, describe and explain what this object is for.
Ideally, each day should be able to offer us a moment when we can put ourselves in the mind of the child. This in order to create a real connection between you and your child because it is in this context that the information will be most easily and durably memorized. In addition, it can be helpful for the child to have a break after a moment of discussion to allow them to remember the information they have just found. Reading with them from a young age will also help. Looking at the types of learning and also activities to help. Things such as fun and easy phonemic awareness activities for example.
USE PRECISE VOCABULARY
Do we want our children to express themselves clearly and with precise vocabulary? Children are eager to learn words from an early age! Although it may be useful to explain some new words to the child, remember that he can only reuse the words they have heard in our speech. You will be surprised at the ability of children, even very young, to use a rich and sustained vocabulary in the simplest way possible.
Use more and more activities to help them blossom further. It could be cooking, going to the museum, playing in the park, folding clothes, reading a story, playing blocks, anything! Finally, picture books are only really relevant when the child already knows the vocabulary that is used. Several games are great for fun around language, but the presentation of a new word should ideally be done in as natural a context as possible. Learning should be fun, afterall.
ENRICH CHILDREN’S PRODUCTIONS
Your child’s first words are the starting point for developing their vocabulary. And you will naturally want to take these first words to bring others later! So follow your instincts: we enrich or we reformulate, without asking the child to repeat so as not to induce pressure. If children feel pressured, they may feel worried that they are not doing well enough.
Here are some further tips to assist you:
1- Play with intonation, facial expressions and gestures, from the first months:
It is strongly recommended to speak close to the baby, emphasizing the melody of your speech, and your expressiveness. Do not hesitate to add gestures to your comments as this will help them.
2- Use routine times to talk to the child about the world around:
Children appreciate routine. This is why these moments must become pure moments of exchange and communication.
3- Promote interactions (privileged moments of language) through play and dialogue:
By putting yourself at the level of the child and starting from the basics, you can work out what conversations are best. These language exchanges are high quality moments of pleasure and tenderness, which promote good language development.
Here are some factors that can cause learning difficulties:
1. Is your child going through a difficult situation?
Are they going through a bereavement, a move, an illness, or a particular event? These situations can cause a delay in their learning, as they could be less available to learn during these specific periods, or feel insecure about their situation.
2. Was your child born prematurely?
Your child may have a certain neurological immaturity that prevents them from learning at the same pace as the other students in their class. There are many issues that could arise but they do not affect the child’s success. It may just mean that they need extra help from you or tutoring for example. It happens in both girls and boys and of different age groups. You may notice your child struggling a little in their early years and not picking up language.
3. Is your child generally healthy?
Your child may also be in poorer health, physically or mentally (they may be sick more often or chronically or he may be more moody, for example.) These three elements can cause a more or less important delay in the child’s learning. They may not be at school as much or they may be focusing more on getting better than learning to read and write.
Even with good follow-up and support, around 10% of children will show academic problems very early in their academic journey. This often represents two or three children per class.
Your child’s teacher will inform you, and recommend follow-up in remedial education. The period of homework becomes interminable and accompanied by frequent crises. Perhaps you will even consider offering him a tutoring service? The child is more and more demotivated, to the point of no longer wanting to go to school in some cases. Despite their best efforts, the difficulties persist and they continue to show poor academic performance. This may mean that they perhaps are on the autistic spectrum. If this is the case, do not worry, because again, there is plenty of assistance.
A learning disability is a problem in the way the brain receives, organizes, understands or uses information. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Therefore, you don’t have to worry at all, you can still encourage them to be incredibly successful in life. It may just need extra nurturing.
Diagnosis of learning disability
In order for your child to obtain the accommodations to which they are entitled with a learning disability, it is essential to obtain a diagnosis. Many group insurance companies offer reimbursement of all or part of the costs associated with such an assessment.
We speak of a learning disability when standardized tests (that only a psychologist or a neuropsychologist is able to pass) reveal a delay in the child. This may be a delay of at least two years compared to the level expected at their age. These tests assess all of the different brain functions that are important for learning, to ensure that intelligence is intact. The skills of reasoning, logic and abstraction. Short-term memory, sustained, divided or selective attention, organization, executive brain functions, information management and, ultimately, reading, spelling, mathematics is all tested. This is to ensure that the cognitive function is fully assessed.
Today, children in schools have access to many types of support groups, tutors and more. They can be completely assisted in all areas of their life and learning. It may seem difficult at first but if you nurture them too and play games and read with them, they are bound to make improvements. But this must be consistent. Language is important, after all.