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Even infants can have conversations with mom or dad. Their turn just tends to involve a smile or some gibberish instead of words. That’s a key lesson from programs that are coaching parents to talk more with their babies—and recording their attempts.

 At issue is how to bridge the infamous “word gap,” the fact that affluent children hear far more words before they start school than low-income kids. New research suggests intervening early can at least boost the words at-risk tots hear, and maybe influence some school-readiness factors.

One program in Providence, Rhode Island, straps “word pedometers” onto tots to record how many words a day they hear from family or caregivers—not TV. Another in New York City records video of parents practicing conversation strategies with babies too young to even say “Da-da.”

“Parents say: ‘Wow, look what I did there. I made a sound and my child smiled at me,” said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn of New York University. “The power in that is really something.”

The research was presented Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.

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Talk to babies and let them babble back to bridge word gapIn this Jan. 11, 2016 photo, caseworker Stephanie Taveras, left, reads a book with 20-month-old Gracey Niebla, right, at the child’s home in Providence, R.I. The city is in the third year of its effort to boost language skills for children

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https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-02-babies-babble-bridge-word-gap.html

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