Friday, November 12, 2010

Language Development Through Movies

I'm sitting here, where I've been sitting most of my day, working on my laptop to meet a self-imposed but necessary deadline for one of my 2 new part-time jobs.  The Boys, who are "suffering" on and off with a gastrointestinal virus (read: diarrhea) for the majority of 2 weeks now, have been marathon movie-watching most of the day... taking advantage of my distracted state. 

I don't know about your kids, but mine get a lot of expressive language practice watching movies and repeating the narrative.  They not only act out but speak the actor's lines... perfecting their articulation with repetitive viewing and rehearsal.  I and my speech therapist approve... MOST of the time!

The caveat? You have to know what they're watching!

Garfield: The Movie is our fifth movie of the day and, as it's late, they've planted themselves right smack in front of the proverbial tube -- a misnomer for televisions that no longer have tubes -- and are gazing up intently, necks strained, at the over-sized screen... I note they're being relatively quiet which tells me it's time for bed. 

Suddenly the following scene plays out: Jon is crushing on Garfield's attractive female veterinarian while Garfield is giving a cat-to-owner pep talking on the benefits of actually asking her out instead of making multiple unnecessary trips to the vet.  The pep talk begins with a very positive rant until Jon is out of Garfield's earshot when the belligerent orange cat culminates with calling his beloved owner a "Schmuck".  (I won't go into the meaning of that word here but suffice it to say it is not appropriate for anyone to say in good company much less 2 5-year-old little boys with Down syndrome.)

No sooner does that word boom out of our pseudo-surround sound system than both boys chime in together with absolutely perfect articulation..... SCHMUCK!

Huh?  OMG!!!

Now if the Old Soul didn't make such a big deal out of it by drumming into their innocent little heads that this is a word that nice kids don't use; If I wasn't covering my face and laughing;  And if they didn't know that shaking shoulders also means I'm laughing and trying to keep them from realizing it, they might not ever have figured out that this was a word the world, their big sister and their mama didn't really want to hear them perfect. 

Ahh, but mothering and language development are imperfect arts!  So if you hear My Boys use this nasty little word in the near future, please excuse them while we work on unlearning it. 


  1. Totally there with you! Kayli learns so much by watching movies with rich plots and language. She loves Anne of green gables and Sarah Plain and Tall, Toy Story, Meet Me in St Louis, Sound of Music, King and I etc...
    Music is very helpful- often she refines her articulation singing (not very tunefully but soulfully!).

  2. Lol, I would have been laughing right along with you. I had to put Home Alone and Shrek in the closet because the boy started saying the words AND acting out the scenes.