1. K-State home
  2. »College of Human Ecology
  3. »News
  4. »Pathologist says 'baby talk' beneficial to infants and toddlers - College of Human Ecology News

College of Human Ecology

Pathologist says 'baby talk' beneficial to infants and toddlers

Thursday, May 11, 2006

MANHATTAN -- "Baby talk" can help young children develop language skills -- and a lack of this early babble has been linked to general delays in speech development for some children, according to a Kansas State University speech-language pathologist.

Engaging in baby talk helps infants and toddlers learn pre-conversational skills, the sound system of language and the power of speech and language.

This sound play leads to later ability to recognize sounds and sound patterns in other forms, such as print, said Linda Crowe of the K-State Speech and Hearing Center.

For babies, this child-like talk provides opportunities to feel differences in how sound can be produced and altered, said Crowe, who also an associate professor in K-State's School of Family Studies and Human Services.

"Infants and toddlers need to explore the sounds of their language through baby talk," Crowe said. "Baby talk can provide pleasure and lay the foundation for purposeful communication, particularly when children get verbal responses."

Parents help their infants and toddlers progress in their speech, language and communication development by providing interesting verbal models, Crowe said.

"When the adult repeats a child's babbling and early word attempts, the child learns that speech and language have power to change the behavior of others," Crowe said. "Back-and-forth baby talk between parents and young children can lay the foundation for conversational skills and social interaction."

However, baby talk can take a negative aspect when the child isn't progressing beyond this developmental stage of babbling, Crowe said.

"While it's cute to hear a 1- to 2-year-old babble and make unintelligible sound combinations, a quite different reaction is evoked when the same occurs in 3- to 4-year-olds," she said.

According to Crowe, sound production begins at birth through grunts, burps and hiccups, which is followed with baby talk around 6-10 months, with words such as "mama," "baba" and "dada." Recognizable speech begins around 12 months of age. A simple vocabulary of approximately 50 words occurs between 12 months and 20 months.

Crowe's research has a specific interest in the areas of child language development and disorders, language-related learning disabilities, and reading and writing development, disorders and intervention.

K-State's new Speech and Hearing Center, dedicated in September 2005, is in the Campus Creek Complex on campus. The center provides comprehensive communication services, including speech-language, reading, swallowing and hearing assessments and interventions.

This article was posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.