Mirror Neurons, Video Modeling, and Your Child’s Speech

The very foundation of Speech Blubs is based on the science of mirror neurons and video modeling. These are both highly effective, evidence-based teaching models which have shown great success, especially for speech perception.

What are Mirror Neurons?

Before we delve into mirror neurons, we need to have a quick understanding of neurons in general. Neurons are specialized cells in our brains which communicate in unique ways to store sensory information. They do this by “firing” to send and receive messages to coordinate our overall functioning. “Firing” is just another word for “learning,” and the different neurons in our brains respond to different sensory information.

Mirror neurons are a type of neuron that “fire” when observing an action and when performing an action – learning occurs through a process of observation-imitation. This means that your child’s mirror neurons respond to indirect experiences (observations) and direct experiences (imitations), especially when an action (or actor) is providing useful information.

Here’s Why Mirror Neurons are so Important

In order to understand the world around us, we need to learn through our senses. We all have mirror neurons, and when we use them to learn through imitation, or “mirroring,” we are able to learn languages, process emotional states, and perform many other important cognitive processes. By tapping into your child’s mirror neurons, we are helping them to learn and perceive speech in various learning contexts and social situations.

They’re Clever Too . . .

Because we use our mirror neurons all the time, they have become quite good at predicting and distinguishing intention to decide what behaviors, and which individuals, are worthy of imitation. This is focused learning at its best!

What About Video Modeling?

Video modeling is a wonderful learning medium supported by the science of mirror neurons. As a teaching method, video modeling is a form of observational learning which allows your child to perceive speech and learn other desirable behaviors by watching video demonstrations and imitating the behaviors within them.

What’s great about video modeling is that it’s cost-effective, practical, and an empirically supported intervention strategy.

More about video modeling:
Video by Michael Woods
Article written by Kaitlyn P Wilson

What is Speech Perception?

Though it may seem to be a simple concept, speech perception is actually a highly complex skill which refers to your child’s ability to hear speech and then understand it – something that is very important for both speech and language development.

Every successful communicator uses speech perception. We use it to understand what is being said and to formulate appropriate responses. We use it whether we are initiating the communication or receiving it.

Children who have difficulties with speech perception also have difficulties communicating. That is why early identification and intervention is so important.

How Do We Use Speech Perception?

When your child perceives speech, they use cognitive, motor, and sensory processes to hear and understand it. Your child’s ability to communicate effectively is determined by their ability to perceive and use speech through:

  • Physical gestures
  • Changes in pitch
  • Different tempos
  • Regular and irregular rhythms
  • Varying stress
  • Alternating intonation
  • Prosody (pitch, rhythm, tempo, stress, and intonation)

We’ve incorporated all these components into our app’s videos through diversity and relentless trial testing. It’s our goal to help your child develop their speech perception capabilities so that they can adapt to changes in their environment and the people that they communicate with.

How Speech Blubs Can Help

Our app develops your child’s speech perception skills and other desirable behaviors by promoting learning through watching video demonstrations and then imitating the behavior.

Speech Blubs uses videos of real kids to make your child’s experience very similar to face-to-face video-chatting. It’s a positive use of screen time!

Skills that your child gains through targeting mirror neurons and video modeling have a big chance of being maintained, and generalized. By utilizing cueing and prompting methods, our app provides consistency and efficiency, which encourages your child to become independent. Your child can then carry this independence over into a variety of contexts and use it to promote further skills such as:

  • Play skills
  • Social initiation skills
  • Conversational and greeting skills
  • Adaptive and functional skills
  • Perspective-taking skills

By using the video modeling and the science of mirror neurons in our app, your child should make progress with their speech perception abilities, even if they are not yet ready at first to imitate the kids in our app’s videos, and prefer to simply observe instead.

If you’re worried about your child’s speech perception skills, you can use our free screener by downloading our app. We’ll even give you a personalized report and actionable advice with the results. You can download the app from the App Store (https://apple.co/2UJcddR) or Google Play (https://bit.ly/2QyYTKX).

You have an ally in Speech Blubs and our biggest success is seeing your child achieve their greatest potential.

“My two year old had it for less than a week and he’s already saying more”

Mariah C., Mom

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