The Child’s Temperament and the Caregiver Essay

636 Words3 Pages
Infants say their first words, by attaining communication skills that form the basis of language. During their first months, infants exhibit that they are social beings. They gaze into the eyes of their mother, father, or caregivers, and they are sensitive to the tones of the voices around them and to the facial expressions of those with whom they are relating to. They pay attention to the language spoken to them, and they take their turn in a conversation, even if it is just using vocalizations such as “cooing” sounds. Infants are capable of producing intentional communication, and they are able to communicate specific desires and needs (Owens, 2005). In infancy, intentionality is signaled by the use of gestures, with or without vocalizations, coupled with eye contact and an insistent attempt to communicate a request. Infants cue their willingness to engage with their caregivers by providing nonverbal engagement cues (Bernstein & Levey, 2002). These include facial brightening, eye widening, smiling, head turning, and reaching for their caregiver. They also use rescue cues that communicate the infant is “ready for a break” from an interaction. Disengagement cues include whimpering, frowning, and an increase in the rate of sucking (Brazelton, Koslowski, & Main, 1974). Children’s early vocal development is usually described in terms of stages. These stages include the following (Bernthal & Bankson, 2004): 1. Reflexive and cry vocalizations stage, which is observed during the first month of life. 2. Cooing/gooing stage, in which basic syllable shapes of a consonant followed by a vowel (CV) are observed, and rounded back vowels (/o/, /u/) and back consonants (/k/, /g/) are produced, usually between 2 and 3 months of age. At this stage, children can distinguish between their mother’s voice and another voice and between utterances in a foreign
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