Hudson Valley Parent

HVP April 2017

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Page 16 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 17 By SARA DUNN S pending time outdoors will have a tremendous positive impact on the growth of your child's vocab- ulary and speech development. That's the finding from recent research conducted and shared by the University of Northhampton in Great Britain. But it's not just a professional phi- losophy held by those from "across the pond," so to speak. Speech and language pathologist Jennifer Brady of Hudson Valley Speech & Swallowing Therapy in New Windsor said that she finds it extremely beneficial to conduct ther- apy sessions with her young clients outside when the weather, and the opportunity, allows. "It's more engaging. It brings a different dynamic. I love doing ther- apy outdoors," Brady says. The university's research, led by Tanya Richardson who is a lecturer on early childhood education, didn't just focus on children who may be facing specific speech challenges, but on young children's speech develop- ment in general. Richardson says that the vocab- ulary a child possesses by the age of 5 can be an indicator of future achievement. Brady, who has been in pri- vate practice since 2010, says that indoors the presence of computers, tablets and televisions can actually limit a child's exploration, in ad- dition to being a distraction from what's occurring outside of one's immediate attention; the observation and discussion of which leads, in part, to speech development. "There's a different attention level and focus. It's like a whole different kid outdoors," Brady says. "They look to adults more and are asking questions, rather than being preoc- cupied with what is in their immedi- ate space." The announcement of Richard- son's findings addressed that. "Many children today are leading far more enclosed lives than previ- ous generations, as educators must look for more creative ways to give children quality outdoor learning experiences in order to enhance chil- dren's language," Richardson said. "This research found that adjective, verb and exclamation usage was higher in a natural environment. This richness in language, over a time, will support children to devel- op their language skills." Brady said she has seen this in action with the children she works with, as well as with her own two young children. "They know what a 'door' is by now. They know what the 'floor' is by now. They don't know what everything is outside," Brady says of the myriad opportunities for explora- tion and discovery offered in nature. "There are animals outside, there are bugs outside. They are constant- ly looking and asking for words to describe what they can't see inside. You're not going to see a squirrel run by inside." A child's vocabulary blooms in nature at Poughkeepsie Farm Project! April 30 • 1-3PM Spend the day with us • Tour the farm • Plant a seedling • Make a treat • Arts & Crafts Limited space - Register at

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