Sibling influences shape a younger child’s language more than was thought, according to new research of 385 preschoolers in Ontario, Canada, and which was published in the February print edition of Pediatrics magazine.
Older children influence language development
This research has implications for children with hearing issues in larger families, where parents may interact less on a one-to-one basis with such children. What’s being said is, in some case an older sibling can detect what a younger child (regardless of ability) needs, and respond appropriately.
Family-Based Language Learning
For some years, family-based education programmes for children with hearing issues have followed this thinking. Language learning is a whole-family process, not just a parent-child communication development activity.
Kindergarteners Alter How They Communicate
One researcher, Diane Paul from ASHA, said it is “remarkable” that very young children (aged 4 to 6) can detect the needs of a younger sibling and alter how they communicate, based on that younger child’s needs. “It seems like they’re helping to create a language-learning environment,” Paul says.
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