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Helping Bright Toddler Socialise

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son is 25 months old. He is a happy child. He is going to Shichida class for the past 10 months. He is very energetic. He is very thin but very active. He loves music a lot. When his dad played drums on his first birthday, he also played drums on seeing it for the first time. He loves drums a lot.

He listens to various types of music (Indian carnatic music, instrumental music, English rhymes, Spanish rhymes, Indian language rhymes (Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu)) and loves to watch someone playing drums. If someone sees him playing with sticks like drumsticks, they would generally say he will become a good drummer... He is reciting more English rhymes and few lines of Tamil rhymes. He could say about 250 English words and few Tamil word (Tamil - his mother tongue) but he does not say mummy or daddy in any language. He is not using any expression language. He loves to play with older children only when he feels playing with them is safe. If a child beats him, he wont play with him again. He has problem with mingling with new persons. But once he feels they are ok, he starts to smile and try to play with them. He has got a good attention span. He uses to see a lot of flash cards in his i-Pad (We use to give him only for few hours a week).

If he is in a good mood, he responds to others but not always. His social and emotional skills are needed to be improved. My concern is about his speech development. I am longing for the day when he will call me mummy...He was screaming badly on the first day of his Shichida class but after 2 classes, he started enjoying the class and he enjoys in the activities but still he wont do all the activities over there.. He is very shy to express himself. He will tell a new word when he is with me but will not say if he is with his dad. In Shichida, even after 10 months, he still finds difficult to play with other children but he enjoys jumping with them or do parallel playing. What are the measures I need to take to make him talk and socialize?

A: Your son appears to be developing well at this age. I believe you have been doing the right thing to help him grow, especially since he is a happy child. He does appear to enjoy the Shichida class which works as a good early exposure for him.

Briefly, according to Professor Shichida (founder of the Shichida Method), to develop a high quality child, it is important to examine both character formation and learning abilities as a wholesome approach to child rearing. The main characteristic of this method is its focus on whole-brain education which helps by developing the right brain and connecting it to the left-brain, allowing both sides of the brain to work together in balance. The right brain is the more important hemisphere to influence the quality of the left-brain. For example, the right brain enables the child to learn subconsciously as well as enable the brain to be able to automatically process large amounts of information at high speed whereas the left-brain is able only to process small amounts of information at low speed. This is quite similar to the Doman's method.

Your son appears to be musically inclined, so carry on exposing him to music - especially drums since it is what he appears to enjoy most. You may also want to introduce him to other musical instrument to gauge his interest level further. Therefore, carry on with the exposure of a variety of different kind of music.

As for his speech, I don't really see him being delayed especially since he is able to master 250 English words at 25 months! It has been researched that between 18-24 months, most toddlers are saying about 20 words by 18 months and 50 or more words by the time they turn 2. At 2 years, most kids start to combine two words to make simple sentences. A 2-year-old should also be able to identify common objects, common pictured objects, indicate body parts on self when labelled, and follow two-step commands. In this case, he is way above that. Just that he is not able to say mummy or daddy - which will come very soon, I believe. In fact, once they turn 2, there may be an “explosion” in the child's speech. You may witness this quite soon.

As for socialising, at around 2 is when he may also start talking to other children and socialisation would improve. Prior to that, there may be separation anxiety. In fact he is already learning to socialise by trial and error when you described how he would play with children when he feels safe. Kids vary a lot and you may notice some kids to be very expressive and are able to mingle easily; at the same time a good number of kids can be very shy and may be intimidated with unfamiliar surroundings.

Allow your son to grow slowly; try not to compare him with other children. If you feel that there is a major concern in his social skills later on, you may want to consult a physician who would be able to tell you if it is normal or refer you to another professional. So take it easy, you are doing great and allow him to develop naturally at his pace. Good luck!


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