Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More: Lessons for all Parents

Did you know that children in low income communities hear 30 million words less than their high income peers by their 4th birthday? Children who hear more words have larger vocabularies, are better readers, and are more prepared for school. This gap is only attributed to parent’s knowledge. Dr. Suskind, Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant program, sought to develop a method to help parents harness the power of language to build their child’s brain to impact their future. The 30 Million Words Project was developed in response to this achievement gap. It focuses on a curriculum that includes direct parent training in the home, use of social media, helping parents create a language rich environment, and setting goals; the initial results are very positive.

The great news is that her best practices apply to any child’s development. Her method focuses on a the “Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More” tool kit.

To learn more about enriching your child’s vocabulary check out this site: http://thirtymillionwords.org/tmw-initiative/

Personalized Vocal Quality on Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Devices

Vocal quality is part of the way we project who we are to the world; it offers information about age, gender, and emotional state. Each voice is as unique as a fingerprints. Yet, millions of people who communicate through alternative augmentative communication devices only have a few computerized voice options. However, speech scientist Dr. Rupal Patel has developed technology which revolutionizes the vocal quality of those who use AAC. She and her team at the Communication Analysis and Design Lab know that people with severe speech impairment still have distinct pitch, tone and volume when they laugh, cry, or vocalize intent. They are able to use this information, match specific characteristics to a voice donor, blend the two together and develop a personalized voice. This technology offers a new way for people using AAC devices to assert their personality as they communicate with friends, peers, coworkers, teachers, and loved ones.  For more information about the technology or to become a voice donor, please listen to the TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?language=en or visit the website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vocalid-custom-crafted-voices#/