Could you be unintentionally hindering your child from developing healthy social skills? In this day and age, children are exposed to electronics at a very young age. Some even boast the latest, trendiest educational software on these often convenient and portable gadgets.
But Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of Kennedy Krieger’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders, warns parents that this may have an effect on children’s social development. A study which she led, published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that an early marker for later communication and social delays in infants at a higher risk for autism is infrequent gazing at other people. Six-month-old infants in the study were given the opportunity to pay attention to either an object or their caregiver. Those in the high-risk group were not as engaged or socially interactive on their own as their peers, though they would still respond when prompted by their caregivers.
Dr. Landa suggests teaching infants simple songs paired with easy, predictable gestures to promote language and social learning, rather than using electronic toys that can be enjoyed and operated without engaging with others. Humans are social beings. No electronic or toy can take our place. Don’t deprive your baby of human interaction!
Note: a similar article on infrequent gazing/ risk for autism was posted in September 2010