The Role of Parents and Caregivers in Communication Development
The development of prelinguistic and linguistic communication does not occur in a vacuum. Caregiver–child social routines play an important role in communication development. During the first few months, infants take a responsive role in their interaction with caregivers. However, toward the end of the first year, they begin to develop intentional control and do more “initiating.” Through daily routines, games, and interactions, infants have repeated opportunities to experience the effect of their actions on caregivers. Caregivers’ ability to “tune in” to the child—to make adjustments in the timing, length, and the complexity of their language when they are interacting with a child—and their ability to introduce a variety of activities and experiences positively contribute to the child’s communication development and growth. Caregivers need to provide infants and young children multiple opportunities to practice and refine their vocal, gestural, and social-communicative behavior.
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