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BabyTalk Paperback – 2 Mar 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Babytalk
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Product details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Century (2 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712680985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712680981
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 19 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,014,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

BabyTalk is a revolutionary new child-care programme that aims to optimise your child's language development, enhance the ability to concentrate and learn, enrich imaginative play and maximise potential intelligence. Over 20 years of research led language therapist Dr Sally Ward to develop this extensive yet surprisingly simple and common-sensical approach to child care.

Based on the simplest of principles--spending time with your child--BabyTalk takes in all stages of your child's young life, from babyhood to toddler, and follows a step-by-step programme that encourages parents to devote half an hour a day to concentrating solely on the needs of the child so as to help them learn to concentrate, listen, understand and communicate and build firm foundations for future learning.

Dr Ward explores the world of toys, books, TV and video, placing them in the context of a child's life, and looking at when their introduction is most appropriate. She also talks through the different stages of babyhood, chronicling the good signs and the bad, but making clear the fact that all children develop at different stages, and if a parent is truly worried about their offspring then a checklist in a book is no replacement for professional advice.

All in all, BabyTalk is an accessible, sound programme that is simple to follow and demands nothing of a parent other than a few minutes every day to focus on and enjoy the company of their small child. --Susan Harrison


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

The idea behind this book is a simple one. It suggests that in order to help your child's language development, you should dedicate 30 minutes a day to give them 100% attention (which has to be a good thing regardless of whether or not it helps their language). It explains how language is learnt, and how to use those 30 minutes to best effect.
The suggestions include things like making sure there is no background noise (young children can't distinguish between background and foreground noise); commenting on what your child is doing, not trying to direct his/her focus of attention, not asking questions, but making listening fun (eg by making silly noises and playing games). Using lots of repetition, and always responding to what your child means, even if it isn't expressed as 'speech'.
The book is arranged chronologically - so it tells you how to work with a child during the first 6 months, then 6-12 months, etc. In terms of advice, the chapters contain a large amount of repetition - ie, the techniques you use for a 6 month old aren't massively different from those you use with a two year old. So in a way, I felt the book could have been much shorter, but on the other hand, having all the information in every chapter does make it easy to dip into.
Although I think the content was good, I also think the main ideas could be summed up in a magazine article, rather than in a book of a couple of hundred pages. Also, as a mother of 18 month old twins, I found the one to one sessions didn't work too brilliantly. I tend to try and spend most of my day with my kids anyway, and they didn't seem to value their separate time with me, and didn't like being left with a neighbour (or whoever) whilst I did my one to ones with their sibling. So at the moment, I've put the one to ones on hold (I might go back to them in the future) but I do use the techniques recommended by Sally Ward now in my every day interactions with them, almost as second nature.
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I bought this book because at 14 months my son wasn't saying any words. He was making lots of noises but there was nothing recognisable as a word. From within a week of starting the BabyTalk programme he had started to make certain noises consistently and after three weeks there were the first hints of words. Within a month came his first word, "No" - I am not sure if this is a comment on my parenting skills. During this period his non-verbal communication skills improved as well as his ability to focus on games and toys. Arguably this was going to happen anyway but I feel that working with the BabyTalk programme definitely helped.
The book also provides interesting and valuable information on general milestones, e.g. what kinds of hand control they should be exhibiting at different ages.
The best part is that I really enjoyed working/playing with my son in the way outlined in the book and the rewards have been quick and gratifying.
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I'm afraid I didn't find this book as helpful as the other customers. I have followed the advice in the book for my 26 month old since she was a year old but her speech is very average. In fact, it was the introduction of basic sign language that improved her speech the most. In another case, my friend's child who is two months older, was speaking sentences at two years old. Her mother did everything Sally says not to - drumming words into them, asking questions to get them to speak constantly, etc. It worked for her.
In summary, I believe all of Sally's ideas are great, I really enjoy the concentrated time with my daughter and now my son, encouraging listening skills, not pressuring them to say things, etc. However, in my experience, my daughter's speech did not advance due to the methods I used in the book - perhaps I was just too laid back - I knew it would come when she was ready!
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This book helped me to understand how a child learns to speak a language. I did not buy it because I felt my child had a problem learning to speak but because I felt I needed some help in understanding the phases she was going through. The author not only comments on language development but also includes useful sections on general development and hints as to which toys help children learn.
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My sister gave this as a gift after my daughter was born. Despite my daughter having a rough start in the neonatal unit she is now 13 months old and is speaking in two-three or four word sentences. Her vocab is well over 70 words. I found the layout of this book particularly useful as I would read each part as related to my duaghters age at the time of reading. It was quick and easy to read. The most important thing I learned from this book was to have no background noise on when interacting with my daughter. Another important thing I learned was to let my daughter direct the focus of attention, that is if she wants to play and focus on the doll, I am not to try to divert her attention to the teddy that I want to focus on. etc. Then to use the words for whatever she is focusing on...this is the way children learn best.

All in all, this book reinforced existing knowledge and gave new ideas as well. I think this book will be particularly useful for working mums whose time is more limited that Stay at Home mums.

I found that I could spare a lot more than 30 minutes a day as a stay at home mum focusing on my daughter's language.

I firmly believe this book and the influence it has had on me as a parent has helped my daughter to be as intellectually and physically advanced as she is today. I am not being immodest in saying that...this book has been extraordinarily helpful.

A good buy.
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