Benefits of Peer Interactions for Infants

Research conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that infants who have the opportunity to interact with peers have increased language learning. Their study compared learning behaviors in 9 month old infants who were either assigned to a series of individual play sessions or play sessions with a peer. The study found that infants who were in play sessions with a peer produced more vocalizations and showed more mature processing of speech. This suggests that infants are more likely to attempt vocalizations and are more motivated to learn when given the opportunity to play with a peer.

Peer Interactions May Bolster Infants’ Language Learning. (January 2019). The ASHA Leader. Volume 24, Issue 1. Retrieved on February 12, 2019. Retrieved from

Sleep, Attention and Behavior

Pediatric research studies suggest that sleep is not only essential to good health, but also to a child’s learning, attention and behavior. Children who consistently sleep fewer than ten hours a night before age three, are 3 times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age six. Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. says that the symptoms of sleep-deprivation and ADHD, including impulsivity and distractibility, are very similar.

Ruling out sleep issues is an important part of diagnosing ADHD, according to Dr.Owens. Children who have special needs seem to be even more vulnerable to the effects of too little sleep.  Sleep deprivation can worsen challenges they might have in a variety of areas, including attention, recall, executive function and self-regulation.For school-age kids, research has shown that adding as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep per night makes it easier for them to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus on schoolwork.  Parents should also be aware of red flags that there might be an underlying cause interfering with their child’s sleep: sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).  Signs and symptoms of SDB include: open mouth breathing posture, snoring, audible breathing, grinding teeth during sleep, frequent arousals/fragmented sleep, and night terrors and sleepwalking.  Parents who observe any of these behaviors should consult with their pediatrician, who may refer them to a medical airway specialist.

Find additional information on sleep-disordered breathing in the February 2018 issue of the ASHA Leader at

For 6 more important reasons your child needs sleep, and how to create a better bedtime routine, check out this article in Parents Magazine:








Cultural Differences in Communication


The American Speech Language Hearing Association emphasizes the importance of Speech-Language Pathologists having both cultural and linguistic competence in the profession. ASHA goes on to explain that whereas human nature is inherited, cultural competence is learned.

Research shows that half of all information shared is communicated nonverbally. Research also shows that use of nonverbal communication is shaped by the cultural backgrounds we are raised within. Use of eye contact, facial expressions and views of personal space vary significantly by culture.

Cultural upbringing also molds the views people have of family, gender roles, child-rearing practices, disclosure of health information, value of education, and time management. Cultural upbringing defines our verbal communication as well, especially in regard to the views people possess of initiating and turn-taking in conversation.

Research shows that with service related fields, when clients view themselves as similar to their health care providers both culturally and linguistically, the provider-patient relationship is strengthened. Understanding the importance of developing cultural competence through an analysis of self-awareness and cultural humility ensures that people appreciate and acknowledge cultural similarities and differences.