Talk With Me Baby is a program that aims to transform parents and caregivers into conversational partners, providing early language exposure to babies in order to nourish critical brain development required for higher learning. It integrates language nutrition coaching as a core competency across large-scale workforces of nurses, WIC nutritionists, and early education professionals, thus systematically training nurses to educate parents about the importance of early language exposure. The program is a collaborative effort between the Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education, Emory University’s School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics, the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, and Get Georgia Reading – Georgia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Research has shown that the first year of a baby’s life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. Those skills are easiest to develop when a baby is consistently exposed to language from even their first hours of life. The regular practice of talking to a baby lays a solid foundation for the child’s future educational achievements. It has been suggested that babies that are born into low-income families are exposed to fewer words than their peers. By the age of 3, these children hear 30 million fewer words than a child that comes from a professional family. Talk With Me Baby aims to solve this problem.