Time to pause and think by Lynda Russell-Whitaker
Pause For Thought. Language development begins before a baby is born, when the child first begins to distinguish sounds heard within the womb. Many people believe that talking or signing to a baby in their mum's tummy is a great way to begin the parent-child bonding relationship. Some think it might help to stimulate a baby's intellect before birth. At birth they are able to recognise the voices of parents and turn to listen to familiar sounds. Adults have an important role to play in supporting baby's early language and this begins with attunement.
Studies show that every day conversations, make believe play and reading activities are particularly influential features of the home learning environment. Small Talk is a new project which helps parents turn the activities they are already doing with their child every day into new opportunities to build their child's language skills. Communication and language for under three's. As long as young children can hear well, they can begin to learn to listen to the sounds around them and to pay attention to what they can see and hear. Another early skill is turn-taking where children learn that when they make a sound babbling , another sound might come back from the adult they are with.
Or when they make a face, a funny face might come back to them. These are very early forms of conversation and are learned through early interaction and play. Around the same time, babies start to understand what is likely to happen next in a situation. These situations might be seeing a familiar adult come into the room, or having a mobile wound up ready for 'sleep-time'.
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After this, babies and toddlers learn to link a word with a particular thing or situation. So you will see the child getting excited when they hear, 'Here's mummy' or ' Do you want some milk? Once children know what words mean, they can start to use them. Early words won't sound much like the adult version- this is a later skill and starts to happen once children build up their knowledge of words and start to use shorter, then longer sentences. Making effective observations of individual children and using these to interpret the child's wants, needs and feelings.
Then naming the interpretation and letting the child know at an appropriate language level. Strategies to support young children in developing their communication and language. When talking to a child, leave pauses. Pick out one or two simple picture books that interest the child. Three characteristics of developing communication are listed, so you can follow children's progress. Last month, two articles emerged. The articles describe the introduction of the Pause programme, an intensive support service for women who have experienced repeat removals of children.
I fell pregnant during public law proceedings in respect of my elder children and my baby was taken into foster care at birth. I want to make it clear that proceedings for my older children were initiated and my new-born was taken, in part, because of my own mistakes and life choices resulting in abusive relationships and poor mental health.
The local authority had the evidence to take to court to have my children removed because of the way I had behaved.
I know, after almost five years of working with social workers nationally, that this is not the case everywhere; that women are helped and supported. Care proceedings are horrifying. When you are going through them, you feel tainted, dirty, shameful and alone. My son has been home for five years. Yet still, people in my local community, mums and dads in the school yard, teachers, doctors and those I only know by association with another, still they gossip.
Was I too immature, or irresponsible for motherhood? I experienced an abusive and controlling childhood which led me to seek out abusive and controlling relationships because they were all I had known, and they felt safe. I experienced poor mental health because of my abusive childhood, my time in the care system and the choices that I had made in respect of relationships myself. I did need help, but not the sort that would replace one form of control for another.
How things turned around
Like the articles above, it is claimed that DfE evaluation of Pause conducted in suggested it had been successful in preventing 36 pregnancies from women, therefore saving those 36 children from being taken into care. No one, least of all I, can argue that preventing children from being taken into care is a bad thing. How do we know for sure if these women had gone on to have 36 children, they would have all resulted in care proceedings? She had older children in care, a history of heroin addiction and was in a violent relationship.
HHJ Carol Atkinson then spoke about the challenge for a judge as to whether or not a parent could be encouraged to change their lives, and being creative and proactive enough to find alternatives to keep families together.
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In my experience, a critical friend and someone who supports you does not control your fertility and require you to take LARC in order to receive that support. So, what about the fathers? I did too. We compared notes afterwards. I was astonished. The social worker asked a few questions of my ex-partner in terms of his practical ability to care for our child, and lots of questions about what he thought about me.
give (somebody) pause for ˈthought
It felt like I was the target. This was repeated during the subsequent private law proceedings me and my ex-partner found ourselves in following his own actions in abandoning our child into my care and withdrawing himself from her life in September until June Again, I was made to feel like the target. My ex-partner began a targeted campaign of harassment against me and I requested assistance from the police, who were very kind and supportive. He began to threaten suicide as a way of trying to manipulate me and the situation.
His mental health was in obvious decline; he was seeing the Crisis Team daily. Yet 11 days before he took his own life, the lead professional on the case deemed me to be at fault, said he was not a risk, that his mental health was fine. She supported his unsupervised contact with our daughter; even the judge was somewhat incredulous.
I realise that my situation is not necessarily reflective of the majority of cases that come before the court.
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