I enjoyed the discussion on language this morning. Ms. Gleason's comments about each child developing his/her 'own language system' rang true to me. She might be interested in another example. My eldest son was considered a 'late talker' - we lived in morocco during the time he was about 15 months to 34 months... i spoke english with him, but worked full time. My sister in law looked after him in our house during the day and spoke arabic to him, I spoke french with her. When we got back to US, the pediatrician here was concerned about language delay. I put it down to the mixed language inputs, although later he turned out to have ADD/dyslexia and still at 17 has trouble with the physical and mental process of creating written output - poor spelling, handwriting, grammar - although for the last 5 years has tested with reading comprehension 5-6 years above his grade level. But what was really interesting was that the as a young child (eg, 18 mo-2.5 years) he developed a vast array of gestures to convey what he wanted, in addition to his gradual use of a small selection of arabic and english words during this time. My husband's family used a lot of gestures when in a big family setting - to convey a message to someone else in the room without having to add to the 2-3 conversations already going on in the room or for privacy. My son adopted these, and created a load of his own, - I think by the time we left he used about 25 gestures, which he might use alongside a word or two - I had no trouble understanding what he wanted to convey. In another curious development around the time he was learning to read, in addition to relying heavily on 'contextual cluee' he went through a period where he would actually change the grammar and words of the sentence he was trying to read, to mean something quite similar, that made spoken sense, but was not what was written on the page, he wasnt often successful in phonetic decoding, but later was a more enthusiastic reader than his younger brothers, who had fewer reading issues at the outset. He established his own systems to leapfrog his constraints.
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