Baby Talk: Supporting early language development
WHO: Psychology associate professor Melanie Soderstrom is director of the Baby Language Lab at the U of M. She connects with Manitoba parents for her studies into infant speech and early grammatical development. She’s an expert in language development and teaches the importance of ‘baby talk’ between a parent and child.
HOW IT WORKS: Soderstrom holds a couple workshops a year for expectant and new parents at The Birth Centre. They are about 1.5 hours long and babies are invited to attend. She also does presentations and answers questions about once a month at the Healthy Start for Mom and Me drop-in programs.
THE GOAL: “To make connections with local families,” says Soderstrom. ”They can learn a little about their role in their child’s language development and I can get the word out to potential research participants in my studies.”
WHY IT MATTERS: “Talking to children is very important in supporting early language development,” she says. “Parents seem very appreciative of the opportunity to ask questions and seem to find it reinforcing to learn about how important they are in the process. I have built a good relationship with the community.”
FUNDERS AND SUPPORTERS: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, The Birth Centre, and the Manitoba Psychological Society