Dr. Conway: At what age do you actually begin to learn to begin to wire those speech sounds together? How young do you think a child is when they actually start watching your mouth? [polls audience –responses from 3 months to Immediately] Probably it would depend on how fast the visual cuing system develops, but what do parents do to try to help make that happen? How do parents usually talk to kids?
Dr. Conway:“Hi baby!” You shove your face right in the kid’s face, and move your mouth really slow. Did your pediatrician teach you to do that? But again, it’s really important that you do that. Because somebody studied it with a laser eye tracker study to figure out in a sample of kids at what age did they start watching your mouth. And here’s what they found out.
Dr. Conway:These are 4 month olds, 6, 8, 10, 12 months olds compared to adults. These black dots are a laser eye tracker and can tell where the child’s pupil is focusing. At that first age group, where are they focusing? At what age does it shift to the mouth? It’s around 8 months, 10 months, right around that age, past 6 months. Now we are really seeing it here – they’re really looking more at this person’s mouth – that’s eight months of age.