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In her IATEFL plenary on ADHD, Asperger Syndrome and dyslexia, Sue Palmer hits home: that development happens in ‘biological time’, and that children are missing out on essential interpersonal learning when they have less quality face time. She refers to Peter Hobson, a specialist on autism.

“In this presentation, she discusses how rapid socio-cultural change, driven by a hyper-competitive consumer economy, has transformed children’s lives in ways that can affect physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. She also looks at the simple ways adults can work together to ‘detoxify’ childhood – all of which are free.”

She doesn’t want children interacting with screens until the age of 7. Children in the UK today are spending 5-6 hours a day in front of a screen. Literacy – if children can focus their attention, can slow down enough to learn to read and write – that changes the architecture of the mind and creates interconnectivity. “As Neil Postman, the essayist, put it, literacy slows down the brain, slows down the mind, it makes you more civilized, more thoughtful, more rational. Electronics, Postman said, speeds up the mind. Now, can I just say I’m not knocking electronics. Love it to bits. But let’s make sure our children can read, write, listen, play – real play, not fun play! – before we start them on it!”

More to read: Sally Ward:  BabyTalk