The BabyTalk Programme

  • BabyTalk

    A closer look

  • The BabyTalk programme establishes the foundations for learning, including understanding and using language, listening, attention and play.

  • It is a guide – based on linguistic theory and cutting-edge research – on how best to nurture a baby / child’s development through the environment you create and the way you communicate with them. At Bonitots, we use key elements of the BabyTalk Programme to promote optimal language development.

  • The Research

    The BabyTalk programme was developed by speech and language therapists Dr Sally Ward and Deidre Birkett. The results of a study into the programme – published in the British Journal of Paediatrics – show significant lasting effects on communication and IQ in children that took part in the programme as compared to a control group.

    The two therapists developed an intervention programme for babies showing early signs of delay in language development. They identified 140 ten month olds that came into this category, split them into two groups (controlled for other factors such as social background and general development). One group received the BabyTalk Programme and the other did not. By the age of three, the communication skills of the two groups already showed a marked difference, with the BabyTalk children performing better on tests of language development. The results were even more interesting when the children were followed up later:

    “At age seven, the ability of the BabyTalk children, both to understand complex sentences, and the kinds of sentence strucutres they were able to use was, on average, one year and three months ahead of the control group. The reading ability of the Baby Talk children was also on average a year and three months ahead. The same results were found on a test of vocabulary which, interestingly, is the best predictor of intelligence…The most exciting finding of all was that there was a very considerable difference in general intelligence between the two groups. The average IQ of rthe group who had received the BabyTalk Programme was in the top third of the population, and between a third and a quarter of these children were in the intellectually gifted range. In contrast, the average IQ of those who had not received the programme was in the bottom third of the population, and only one child was in the gifted range…There were also noticeable differences between the two groups in emotional and behavioural development, social skills and ability to concentrate.”