16 October 2008

Including Pram Inhabitants in Communication

A bumper crop of babies, toddlers and advanced children are being pushed around Manly in prams. Mostly, turned away from the face2face position, leaving the young one deprived of interaction.

Parents/carers can be seen engaged in electronic interaction (mobile) for prolonged periods, as their most common posture. Awareness becomes entirely focused on the one physically absent.

Lack of (verbal) interaction can interfere with the language development of the young child. Shari Harpaz, a speech pathologist, specializing in children with PDD-NOS, social and play deficits, developmental verbal dyspraxia, and oral motor deficits "is seeing an increase in speech-delayed babies and toddlers" which is related to mobile phone usage. The social preconditions for language acquisition are withheld. Preverbal vocalizations are not responded to. "The social use of language, that's the piece that's getting lost,'' said Harpaz.
Speechless presence needs some inclusive quality face-time to become a member of the language-using human community.

'PDD-NOS': Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
'Hey, cellphone mom: Your children are calling', Seattle Times, 070908
'Caregivers should turn off the phone and watch the kids' , mlive, 090908
How best to walk your baby, The Independent, 211108
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Dundee's School of Psychology

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