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In this chapter, we consider children's early language acquisition as it develops alongside three other core cognitive competencies: children's understanding of objects, children's understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others (i.e. their theory of mind), and children's knowledge of numbers and mathematical principles. We argue that while early language acquisition is initially supported by these three other competencies, the acquisition of words transforms them by providing a method for children to communicate and organise the information obtained through them. We do this by describing the key milestones occurring within each of the competencies and the genetic and environmental factors which place them at risk, with findings derived from a systematic review of cohort studies in English-speaking countries. A key message is that genetic and environmental circumstances are inextricably linked in predicting early cognitive development, and that some factors are reliably stronger in predicting poor outcomes than others. Additionally, there is clear evidence that income-related disparities are reliably measurable from the age of 3 and then steadily increase throughout the remainder of childhood.
Care injustice, sometimes termed the ‘postcode lottery’ arises when individuals cannot access services simply because of where they reside. The distribution and access to health and education services for children with language difficulties is explored in this chapter. There is a body of literature demonstrating that service availability and accessibility can differ markedly between metropolitan and rural settings. Here, we draw on available evidence to discuss the relationship between health inequities and inequalities, proposing a place-based approach as a potential solution, which encourages the location and distribution of services based on community need. This chapter also addresses the way in which many services have been historically developed, that is, along the traditional ‘clinical’ model rather than a model which considers and reviews the needs of a community from a population health perspective and likely needs of the child population. We conclude by highlighting some key steps that need to be taken to ensure the design and delivery of services to meet the future needs of the population, and outline some of the challenges in adopting this approach.
Language development in young children is clearly associated with the context in which children grow up. Of course, it has a strong biological developmental element but it is the interaction between the social and the developmental that is the focus of this book. Children’s language skills vary considerably at any one point in their development but especially over time. This chapter introduces the reader to some of the key concepts in the book and, in particular, focuses on how this interaction works for children with skills at the lower end of the language distribution, namely children with developmental language disorders, and how the patterns of these skills change over time. Key to understanding these issues is the need to follow large representative national samples of children for extended periods of time and assessing their performance at regular intervals, a feature of many chapters in the book. The book is targeted at academic, professional and an ‘informed’ public audience. The academic audience will include linguists, psychologists, speech and language pathologists, public health professionals and paediatricians and their equivalent in different countries. But it will also be important for health, education and public policy professionals.
Disparities in language development emerge in the first year of life and increase with age; consequently, infancy and toddlerhood are key periods whereby early language outcomes may be optimised via prevention and early intervention programs. As yet, the efficacy of programs promoting early language in the first three years of life remains unknown. This chapter provides the reader with findings from a systematic review of interventions aimed at improving child language outcomes for 0–3 year olds. Using a narrative synthesis, we examine and describe the evidence for effective language interventions across the preventive intervention spectrum (universal, selective, indicated/targeted). Specifically, we explore what works for who and under what circumstances. This review provides important insights about early language interventions, including factors contributing to positive outcomes. Findings also suggest how early interventions may be tailored to foster language outcomes for different groups of children (i.e. targeting children at-risk based on low socio-economic status or those with identified language difficulties). This review also highlights the need for further evaluation of promising interventions when applied to the broader population.
Although language development in children follows a predictable pattern and rate, it is common for interventions to be proposed to increase language skills especially when children are seen to be functioning behind their peers. The key argument is that environmental modifications have the potential to change language trajectories. These can be delivered at a universal level (for everyone) at a targeted-selected level (for groups perceived to be in need,) at a targeted-indicated level for those with an identified need, and at a specialist level (for those with the most pronounced difficulties). In this chapter we focus on two recent overviews of randomised controlled trials, one on parent–child book reading and a second on interventions delivered by professionals to promote language development. It focuses on the collective outcomes of these interventions rather than the details of the interventions themselves. The results suggest that, in the short term at least, there are reasonably consistent positive findings across a range of different interventions, although the effects vary considerably by outcome. It is not yet clear whether the downstream effects of such interventions are sustained or indeed whether children are able to catch up with their peers.
The majority of children acquire language effortlessly but approximately 10% of all children find it difficult especially in the early or preschool years with consequences for many aspects of their subsequent development and experience: literacy, social skills, educational qualifications, mental health and employment. With contributions from an international team of researchers, this book is the first to draw together a series of new analyses of data related to children's language development, primarily from large-scale nationally representative population studies, and to bring a public health perspective to the field. The book begins with a section on factors influencing the patterns of language development. A second section explores continuity and change in language development over time. The third explores the impact on individuals with developmental language disorders (DLD), the effectiveness of available interventions, and broader issues about the need for equity in the delivery of services to those with DLD.
Non-standard orthography on social media provides a useful supplementary data source for sociophonetic research. Regarding an ongoing chain shift in Northern Metropolitan French nasal vowels, spellings reflecting shifted vowel targets are observed on Twitter. These non-standard spellings, e.g. avont [avɔ̃] for avant /avɑ̃/ ‘before’, provide insight into speakers’ awareness of this change and its lexical distribution. Tweets with shifted and standard spellings of 306 word forms containing the phonemes /ɛ̃/, /œ̃/, /ɑ̃/ and /ɔ̃/ were collected from an 870-million word Internet Archive corpus of French tweets from 2011–2017. Shifted spellings were found for all four vowels and 168 words. The shifted spelling rate is lower than that of comparable variables in English and is not conditioned by stress, grammatical category, frequency, or phonological context, which affect the distribution of shifted nasal vowels in speech. However, frequent words show more indications of intentional misspelling, such as repetition and capitalization of the target vowel, suggesting that some speakers are conscious of the variation and comment on it using salient words. The results also contribute to an ongoing debate about a possible merger between /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/, supporting the hypothesis of an incomplete merger where /ɛ̃/ shifts towards [ɑ̃] but /œ̃/ does not.
Little is known about parents’ compensatory health beliefs (CHB) surrounding their children’s engagement in physical activity (PA). Our aim was to provide evidence regarding the nature of, and factors underpinning, parents’ PA-related compensatory beliefs for their children.
A qualitative descriptive approach and thematic content analysis were employed.
Parents were recruited from community sport and PA programmes.
Eighteen parents aged 32–52 years (mean age = 40·8 (sd 5·4) years; six males; twelve females).
Analyses indicated that parents compensate through ‘passive’ or ‘active’ means. Among parents who compensated, most described their provision of ‘treat’ foods/drinks and a minority described allowing extended sedentary time to their children. Parents’ reasons underpinning these beliefs related to their child’s general physical/health status and psychological characteristics, and their own motivation and mood state.
These findings provide the first evidence of unhealthy dietary and sedentary behaviour CHB that parents may hold regarding their children’s involvement in PA.
Continued reliance on chemical methods for controlling annual bluegrass has resulted in many populations evolving resistance to PRE and POST herbicides, particularly in warm-season turfgrass species such as zoysiagrass. Soil seedbank management is critically important when managing herbicide-resistant weeds. Fraise mowing (also spelled fraze, frase, and fraize) is a new turfgrass cultivation practice designed to remove aboveground biomass while allowing turf to regrow vegetatively. We hypothesized that this process would remove annual bluegrass seed and therefore be a mechanical means of controlling annual bluegrass in turfgrass. Zoysiagrass field plots were fraise-mowed in June 2015 only, June 2016 only, June 2015 and June 2016, or left untreated. The fraise mower was configured to remove the uppermost 25 mm of plot surface (i.e., 15-mm verdure and 10-mm soil). Annual bluegrass infestation was quantified in April following fraise mowing via grid count. Soil cores (10.8 cm diameter) were extracted from each plot after grid count data were collected to assess effects of fraise mowing on the soil seedbank. Moreover, replicated subsamples (7.6 L) of debris generated during fraise mowing were collected to better understand weed seed content removed during the fraise mowing process. Fraise mowing in June offered a slight reduction (24%) in annual bluegrass cover the following April. Whereas 28% of the seed in fraise-mowing debris consisted of annual bluegrass, there was no difference in the quantity of annual bluegrass seed remaining in the soil seedbank among fraise-mowed and non–fraise-mowed plots. Although fraise mowing may help to temporarily reduce existing annual bluegrass infestations via mechanical removal, the frequency and depth we studied did not effectively reduce the seedbank. Fraise mowing is a useful tool for providing mechanical suppression of annual bluegrass but it is not a replacement for properly timed herbicide applications.
Some centres favour early intervention for ureteral colic while others prefer trial of spontaneous passage, and relative outcomes are poorly described. Calgary and Vancouver have similar populations and physician expertise, but differing approaches to ureteral colic. We studied 60-day hospitalization and intervention rates for patients having a first emergency department (ED) visit for ureteral colic in these diverse systems.
We used administrative data and structured chart review to study all Vancouver and Calgary patients with an index visit for ureteral colic during 2014. Patient demographics, arrival characteristics and triage category were captured from ED information systems, while ED visits and admissions were captured from linked regional hospital databases. Laboratory results were obtained from electronic health records and stone characteristics were abstracted from diagnostic imaging reports. Our primary outcome was hospitalization or urological intervention from 0 to 60 days. Secondary outcomes included ED revisits, readmissions and rescue interventions. Time to event analysis was conducted and Cox Proportional Hazards modelling was performed to adjust for covariate imbalance.
We studied 3283 patients with CT-defined stones. Patient and stone characteristics were similar for the cities. Hospitalization or intervention occurred in 60.9% of Calgary patients and 31.3% of Vancouver patients (p<0.001). Calgary patients had higher index intervention rates (52.1% v. 7.5%), and experienced more ED revisits and hospital readmissions during follow-up. The data suggest that outcome events were associated with overtreatment of small stones in one city and undertreatment of large stones in the other.
An early interventional approach was associated with higher ED revisit, hospitalization and intervention rates. If these events are markers of patient disability, then a less interventional approach to small stones and earlier definitive management of large stones may reduce system utilization and improve outcomes for patients with acute ureteral colic.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.