Early Intervention - Electronic Media Use

I recently learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends ZERO screen time for kids below age 18-24 months. And it makes sense - We know children learn best through reciprocal real-life interactions, which provide the perfect context for trying out new speech and language skills and supporting social-emotional development. There's really no replacement for talking, singing, and playing simple games without all the flashing lights and bells and whistles. Click here for a great post by the AAP about selecting appropriate toys for young kids.

Although interfacing with touch screens offers some benefits for motor development, the risks to cognitive and language development, as well as attention and sleep regulation, outweigh any potential benefits. In conversations with my SLP buddies in early intervention (and just casual observations of kids on iPad at restaurants!), I'm concerned that the AAP recommendations aren't being taken seriously. In fact, about 70% of children under the age of two exceed the AAP guidelines for electronic media usage (Vandewater et al., 2007). Important note - video chatting with familiar individuals (e.g., friends, family) is still considered okay for the itty bitty ones, as long as the interaction is short, intentional, and supported by an adult.

So I decided to whip up a handout to review some of the research on this topic. This handout is available for FREE from my TPT store and will soon be integrated into an Early Intervention packet with many more one-pagers about feeding, speech, and language development, as well as other "hot topic" issues including the research around introducing multiple languages to children at risk for language delays. 

Feel free to comment below with other topics/resources you'd like to see incorporated in the EI packet. Thank you, as always, for your support and the wonderful work you do for children!

1 comment:

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