Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Milestones

Most mothers seldom forget the first words their children ever said.Even as adults,our parents or caregivers or anyone that knew us when we were children keep recounting hilarious tales of our childhood to us and of course,our first words are an obligatory part.Now travel back in time,what was the first words you  spoke?have any of your parents or relatives ever told you?LOL!I cant remember mine.Am sure my mum must have told me.I can only remember my brother's first word which was 'mama'.Now,our children don't just develop language over night.Like every other process,it follows a sequence.This post is the first post out of two that will explain how your darling child acquires language which of course plays an important role in his learning process.
          First of all,it might interest you to know that contrary to popular believe,your child DID NOT acquire language because you taught him or because he simply imitated you.NOPE! In as much as there are many theories that seek to explain how children acquire language,the most plausible is the nativists theory which states that children acquire language because they are biologically conditioned to do so. Some other scholars have attributed children's ability to learn language to a device in their brain LAD-Language Acquisition Device which enables them acquire language.
Now lets begin to count the milestones.This should be fun.

0-2 months:This is called the reflexive stage.The sounds your child produce in this stage are mainly biological sounds such as yawning,sucking,hiccups.During this period,your little darling is practicing the use of his vocal organs perhaps to ensure that it works.

2-4 months:This stage is referred to as the cooing proper.Your baby begins to produce vowel like sounds.

4-12 months:This is the babbling stage which is divided into early babbling and late babbling.In early babbling,your child babbles all the sounds in the universe.He babbles a combination of  consonant and vowel sounds.Even deaf children babble at this stage.When your baby gets to eight months,his babbles begin to contain the sounds of the language he is about to acquire.At nine months,deaf children stop babbling because they do not hear themselves or anyone else.

1-1 1\2 years:When your child gets to this age,he now knows that sounds can be used to express meaning,so he begins to use a particular set of sound to express a particular meaning.He might develop a special name for his toy or sibling or even you.When my brother was this age,he called my mum 'maama'.Still in this age,he begins to use one word to express a complex message.My brother would say 'wowa' if he wanted to tell you he is thirsty.Little wonder this stage is called one word stage.

1year6months-1year8months: When your child is this age,he begins to express those meanings that he expressed in one word in two words.this stage is the two word stage.This stage is also called telegraphic speech because the way your child speaks is similar to the way telegraphs are written;short straight to the point sentences.He might see you setting the table for dinner and point to the table at say 'daddy food'(of course he wouldn't pronounce it properly.We will get to this subsequently). He will omit articles such as a.an,the. He will also omit prepositions,plural markers and past tense markers.They mainly use noun verbs and adjectives. It is interesting to note that in as much as your child's vocabulary is limited,he is able to express himself sufficiently and his understanding of language is greater than his production.

2-2 1\2years: Your child learns how to ask question using question tags. Eg,'where  daddy?'.He will also inflect his voice to let you know that a phrase you would have considered a statement is actually a question .Eg, 'see food'.your child will inflect(that is raise the tone of his voice) 'food' so that you will know that he asked a question. Remember when your child was a year plus,he uses one word to express meaning.you might be feeding him breakfast and once he is full,he shakes his head and says 'no'. But once he gets to this age (two plus),he attaches other words to negation.Rather than saying 'no' when he is full,he will say 'no food' or any other phrase of his choice,

2 1\2 years and above:your child's vocabulary and language use increases and improves vastly.he just keeps improving and improving and..improving on his language.

           Now you should have fun tracking the language development of your child o any child around you.Subsequent posts are coming up detailing how and when your child learns how to pronounce correctly,when he learns to form correct sentences among others.

Do drop your questions and suggestions on the comment box.You can equally mail me on onyinyechinwankwoo@gmail.com.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

...for the exceptional child

Every parents' dream is to have the model child;the child who excels in his academics.no parent ever wants to have or wishes for a child who is academically deficient hence when they have such a child,it comes as a huge shock.the question is "what do you do"? what do you do when you discover your child cannot perform like his classmates/age mates?what do you do when his teachers complain that he cannot read or write is usually absentminded in class?what is your reaction?do you scold him severely and threaten to deny him some privileges?do you compare him with his siblings who are excelling in their academics or do you simply fire the previous home tutor and hire a 'better' one? what exactly do you do?
        it is amusing that we have children and when they are of age enroll them in schools and yet we dont have a knowledge of  the learning process.unfortunately,even some teachers dont.but why leave your child's welfare to  the teacher alone?its your primary responsibility!
        my interest in children and learning disorder began the day i casually picked up The Guardian newspaper and turned to  my favorite column the girl whispherer. he wrote on dyslexia.though i could not fully comprehend all,i understood even to remember my primary school.primary 5 precisely.i remembered a classmate who couldn't do his sums,read nor write.i remember how our teacher would ask him to stand and read,i remembered the look of defeat on his face;without trying he already knew he had failed.our class teacher would flog him as though she was looking forward to it after all she never expected him to read it anyway.i remembered him taking his sit, head bowed and we the 'smart' ones will always exchange a giggle and read with flourish.i felt bad.how come no one made any special effort to help him?why didnt anyone care to discover why he couldnt perform like the rest of us?
   I got into the university of portharcourt to study mass communication but alas!,uniport combines it with linguistics.i wanted to work with a radio or Tv or magazine,i am going to be the Aisha Bello or Kehinde Young-Harry of my time what has linguistics got to be with any of that?i disliked linguistics without giving it a chance.the negative things my senior colleagues said about linguistic courses didnt help matters.It was pertinent that i did well in all my courses both linguistics and communication courses so i had to study hard and in the process,i began to like linguistics though i hated to admit  it.in my second year,i did courses on speech acquisition and learning disorders and i was taken back to that article in The Guardian newspaper and the flame was reignited and it has burned in an all consuming manner ever since.i cant control its intensity nor heat.after a whole lot of soul searching,anxiety,worries,questions and studies,i took the wobbly step of starting my blog.the aim of this blog is to provide insight on your child'`s learning process amongst other things such as speech acquisition,child psychology and solutions to challenges in learning your child may have.this blog is simply about your child.insights from scholarly articles will be used to further direct you.
      Every child deserves happiness.every child deserves a chance to lead a normal well balanced life.every child should stand a chance.the childhood stage is a very tender and formative period that influences greatly they kind of adult your child will be.may it never be said that your child was never happy,never excelled and regards his childhood as traumatic because you didnt have the necessary knowledge,because you failed to read...