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Early development and learning


Early development and learning

Showing typical development at 6 weeks; 35 weeks; 22 months; 29 months; 10 years: a study in movement patterns.
Cut with excerpts from Geoffrey Waldon's Understanding Understanding video (1980). Dr Waldon speaking 8.10 to 8.43.

In Waldon, General Understanding is the key to speech and language development.

As Geoffrey Waldon stated in his preface to Teaching Session Thirteen (Understanding of Speech) - - it is important to distinguish between two different, related abilities:
understanding the speech of others
understanding one's own speech (expressing one's understanding through speech)

Verbs such as Wait, Give and Put give shape and substance to an action; GW called them definers.
Some words that are normally called 'prepositions' – in, on, beside, behind, beneath, and so on - GW regarded as, logically, adverbs, since they described different actions, modifying the definer 'put' so as to differentiate between related but separate actions: so the child puts in, on, beside, behind, under/beneath - these accidental puttings are, over time, noticed by the child, and then consciously employed.

Outside the lesson
Expose the child to more advanced speech, as long as the child is not expected to understand it or act on it - avoidance of undue anxiety (some anxiety is often present around speech, but it should be momentary, fleeting) is very important.
So you can be talking to yourself, to another child or adult, towards or 'around' the child, bathing him/her, occasionally, in a fog of words; the child will tend to respond to any of these speech-actions when their understanding-development allows them to create some meaning from them.

Explain things to the child when necessary but only when necessary. 
As adults we tend to be hooked on explanations; young children haven't yet learnt to be ... but when they do need them then they need them simple and straightforward.

In the asocial lesson
Generally there is no reason to use speech. But if you decide to strengthen the child's ability to act upon the speech of others keep it spare and simple – Wait/Go/Stop/Give it to me/Put it in/on, etc. - and make sure the child acts upon the injunction, with physical prompting if necessary.