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Tune In to Find Out if Your Child Is Developing Normally

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"Then obviously, you get into the other set of issues: whether children who are very young should be watching television at all," she says. "While the [American] Academy of Pediatrics and many pediatricians do not feel that young children should be watching TV, I think there are much better ways to be determining how well your child is doing developmentally. We are much bigger proponents of reading books to your children and having your children identify pictures rather than things on TV as a better way of teaching your child and knowing whether your child is learning what you are teaching."

Lloyd says he is aware that promoting the use of television as a diagnostic tool is controversial, especially in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics' recent recommendation that children under the age of 2 watch no television at all.

"Other pediatricians have said to me, 'You are sending the wrong message with this test,'" says Lloyd. "On a bad day you could imagine that some mother will hear about this, spot that her 16-month-old child isn't doing it, and then sit the child in front of the television for four hours as therapy. This is my nightmare scenario."

"Of course whether the child has normal development or not, they are better off not plopped in front of the television," says Lloyd. "In fact, as a result of this, I talk about the dangers of excessive television more."

Vital Information:

  • New research shows that by 18 months of age, 96% of children can recognize a cat, dog, or baby on a television screen, but only 19% of Down's syndrome children can do this.
  • Researchers say this diagnostic tool can help determine whether a young child has a learning problem, but other experts question the validity of this measurement.
  • One problem with this tool is that children under the age of 2 should not even be watching television, according to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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