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County Promotes Child Development Through 'Use Your Words' Campaign

Talking to your baby could be one of the best things a parent can do developmentally, and to help get that idea across Allegheny County the Department of Human Services has launched what it is calling the “Use Your Words” campaign.

The campaign encourages parents to talk to their infant about things that they are doing. For instance “I am cutting up orange carrots” in an expressive manner is the best way to help children develop.

“A lot of people who are not very well educated do a lot of instructional talk. They’ll say, ‘don’t do that, don’t touch this,’ you know things for a child’s safety, but few were using descriptive words,” said Leslie Reicher at the Department of Human Services in Allegheny County.

A study, which recorded how much parents talked to their children in their first three years, found that children who had been talked to more as a child had higher IQ’s and did better in school years later.

Reicher has the responsibility at DHS for the 26 Family Support Centers in Allegheny County, which will soon implement the new campaign that will consist of an introduction for professionals and a training guide with tips for parents.

The campaign was paid for through a grant for early childhood development.

“It feels like a no-brainer, and yet it’s so important, because people don’t. You hear people say ‘why should I talk to my baby. She doesn’t understand, or he doesn’t understand, he’s just a biby,’ they see your eyes and they see your mouth and they’re just sponges. They just soak up all of it,” said Reecher. 

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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