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Babbling babies – born talking!

Jill Atkinson tells us about the stages her new granddaughter is going through as she learns to talk.

With a background in teaching, mainly in the Early Years, the birth of my first grandchild has been eagerly awaited.

In February 2016, Jessica was born and like many grandparents my first glimpse of her was overwhelming and I was literally ‘walking on air’.

I wondered about how my role in giving training and support to early years practitioners may link and impact on my relationship with my daughter, Rachel and granddaughter, Jessica. I wanted to be there to support the child and the family bond, enjoy all moments but not hand out advice; a sure fire way of causing upset in a relationship!

Although the new baby lives over 100 miles away, we have set up a cosy bedroom and cot for the new family so they could visit us often over the first few months. This means I have enjoyed a small part in playing, feeding, bathing and changing my grandchild, sometimes while the new parents snatched a few hours catching up on sleep!

I noticed right from the beginning that Jessica had very strong startle reflex when loud noises were made at home, such as when the dog suddenly barked her arms and legs moved , she also turned her head to whoever was talking or making a noise; Rachel called her ‘nosy’ wanting to ‘see’ everything.

Jessica made more and more sounds and ‘coos’ with increasing volume and frequency. She smiled when we smiled at her and started to ‘blow bubbles’ around her mouth from around three months. Rachel has reported that she is responsive to tickles and smiles but is most responsive at changing time when they are face to face with the baby lying on the changing mat.

I noticed that she already liked looking at a simple ‘noisy’ fabric farm picture book while we make the noises for each animal slowly over and over for a few minutes.

Jessica, now four months old, and is making very definite and different sounds. My daughter already recognises her vocal communicative noises. She looks and cries when she wants attention; this sounds like a short ‘wail’ with a period of quiet waiting for a response. When hungry and tired she cries without looking for a response. The ‘gan gan’ sound that she was making in the evening also for attention from just a few months is starting to diminish.

Rachel has found the Stages of Speech and Language development a great resource and very reassuring to see that so far Jessica is meeting typical communication milestones in her overall development. The importance of good communication skills impacts on future learning skills and we are all keen to give Jessica a good start.

Through I CAN Help, the charity’s enquiry service, you can  talk to one of I CAN’s Communication Advisors to find out more about milestones children go through when learning to talk and how you can support them.

I intend to blog about the first few years of Jessica’s communication journey and I hope you enjoy hearing about how she is getting on!

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