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Pandemic babies with development delays can be helped to make up for lost social interaction – 5 tips for parents

The COVID-19 pandemic – and the isolation it brought on – deprived many babies of the stimulating experiences they need to develop. Is the damage permanent?…



Children born during the pandemic are at nearly twice the risk for developmental delays. Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Typically, about 1 in 6 children experience a developmental delay. But children born during the pandemic, a 2022 study has found, have nearly twice the risk of developmental delays in communication and social development compared to babies born prior to the pandemic.

The reason, some researchers believe, is related to less interaction with other children, among other factors.

Delays in communication can mean a child learns to talk later, talks less or uses gestures like pointing instead of talking. Social developmental delays might be present when a child doesn’t respond to their name when called, doesn’t look at what adults are paying attention to in the environment, or doesn’t play with other children or with trusted adults.

It’s hard to say if children who suffer from these delays can be caught up or if they will require continued services or special education into elementary school and beyond. The more severe the delay, the more likely the child will need ongoing specialized services.

One way to be more certain is to talk to your child’s pediatrician about whether your child is meeting certain developmental benchmarks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also recommends that parents contact their state’s early intervention program and say, “I have concerns about my child’s development, and I would like to have my child evaluated to find out if he/she is eligible for early intervention services.”

In the meantime, parents and early childhood teachers can support language development for children who may suffer from delays by providing rich, responsive interactions and conversations.

As a researcher who specializes in language and literacy skills for young children with learning disabilities, here I offer five evidence-based strategies that parents and teachers of children with pandemic-related developmental delays can use to support the growth of their child’s language skills and later school performance.

1. Get children talking

Language is how we share experiences. However, children with developmental delays may not talk very much. Adults can create opportunities to talk, which helps children develop the ability to communicate and interact with others.

One way to do this is to create situations in which the child has to talk to get something they want. For example, at home, put a favorite toy or snack in a clear sealed bag or plastic container so the child can see the item but cannot get it themselves without asking for help. At preschool or day care during snack time or free play, provide the student with two choices and have them say which choice they want. For children whose speech is hard to understand, any noise or attempt at talking is a good sign. The important part is that they are trying to talk, not that the words come out perfectly. If the child’s speech is unintelligible, have them point and talk at the same time to show their choice.

2. Expand on children’s speech

Providing rich language is critical for supporting the language development of children with developmental delays.

One way to provide rich language is by responding to what the child says and then adding on details or adjectives. For example, if a young child sees a dog and exclaims, “Doggy!”, an adult could expand on that speech by saying, “Yes! There’s a big brown dog.” The adult is acknowledging what the child said and providing more language for the child to hear and respond to while sharing the experience of seeing a dog.

3. Be a warm and attentive conversation partner

When adults provide warm, supportive interactions, children go on to have better language skills in preschool, better vocabulary and reading ability in first grade, and better mathematics performance in third grade.

Being a supportive partner means following the child’s lead and not always telling the child what to do. For example, play with toys the child chose or enact pretend scenarios the child came up with. During conversation, talk directly to the child about a topic the child chose and take turns talking. Don’t worry about correcting the child or guiding the interaction. It’s OK if you’ve talked about the dog across the street a thousand times. Each interaction builds language skills. Stay positive and engaged.

4. Share a book

Shared book reading is a technique where the adult actively involves the child in the storytelling experience. Children who participate in frequent shared book reading have larger vocabularies, use more complex language and have better reading comprehension in later grades.

Start by asking open-ended questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” Talk to the child about their real-life experiences similar to the book, like, “Remember when we went to the park? What did we do there?”

Point out words and letters while reading aloud to help children develop their awareness of print. Talk about interesting words in the story and define new words. Children often like to read the same book over and over, so there will be many opportunities to use these strategies during story time. Don’t worry about using them all at once.

5. Talk about words

Help children develop a better awareness of the connection between words and how they sound. This is an important skill that supports reading and writing.

Clap or count syllables in words, such as “cupcake” or “butterfly.” Tell nursery rhymes and have the child say which words rhyme or come up with other words that rhyme. Talk about the sounds you hear at the beginning or end of words, such as the “t” sound in “tiger” or the “m” in “room.” Children are slowly learning that spoken language is made up of words and sounds that can be represented by written letters. This knowledge is the gateway for learning to read and write.

Abigail A. Allen received a federal grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (R324B200016) to develop a series of sentence writing intervention lessons for young struggling learners (2020-2024).

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China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will…



China Suggests It Could Maintain 'Zero COVID' Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will maintain its controversial ‘zero COVID’ policy for at least 5 years, eschewing natural immunity and guaranteeing repeated rounds of new lockdowns.

“In the next five years, Beijing will unremittingly grasp the normalization of epidemic prevention and control,” said a story published by Beijing Daily.

The article quoted Cai Qi, the Communist Party of China’s secretary in Beijing and a former mayor of the city, who said that ‘zero COVID’ approach would remain in place for 5 years.

After the story prompted alarm, reference to “five years” was removed from the piece and the hashtag related to it was censored by social media giant Weibo.

“Monday’s announcement and the subsequent amendment sparked anger and confusion among Beijing residents online,” reports the Guardian.

“Most commenters appeared unsurprised at the prospect of the system continuing for another half-decade, but few were supportive of the idea.”

Although western experts severely doubt official numbers coming out of China, Beijing claimed success in limiting COVID deaths by enforcing the policy throughout 2021.

However, this meant that China never achieved anything like herd immunity, and at one stage the Omicron variant caused more more coronavirus cases in Shanghai in four weeks than in the previous two years of the entire pandemic.

Back in May, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus suggested that China would be better off if it abandoned the policy, but Beijing refused to budge.

As we previously highlighted, the only way of enforcing a ‘zero COVID’ policy is via brutal authoritarianism.

In Shanghai, children were separated from their parents in quarantine facilities and others were left without urgent treatment like kidney dialysis.

Panic buying of food also became a common occurrence as the anger threatened to spill over into widespread civil unrest.

Former UK government COVID-19 advisor Neil Ferguson previously admitted that he thought “we couldn’t get away with” imposing Communist Chinese-style lockdowns in Europe because they were too draconian, and yet it happened anyway.

“It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought,” said Ferguson.

“And then Italy did it. And we realised we could,” he added.

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Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 18:05

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No sign of major crude oil price decline any time soon

Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of…




Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing

Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of concern that rising interest rates could push the global economy into recession.

Yet the future of crude oil still seems bullish to many. Spare capacity, or lack of it, is just one of the reasons.

The global surplus of crude production capacity in May was less than half the 2021 average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Friday.

The EIA estimated that as of May, producers in nations not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had about 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) of surplus capacity, down sharply from 1.4 million bpd in 2021. It said 60 per cent of the May 2021 figure was from Russia, which is increasingly under sanctions related to its invasion of Ukraine.

The OPEC+ alliance of oil producers is running out of capacity to pump crude, and that includes its most significant member, Saudi Arabia, Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told Bloomberg last week.

“Some people believe the prices to be a little bit on the high side and expect us to pump a little bit more, but at this moment there is really little additional capacity,” Sylva said in a briefing with reporters on Friday. “Even Saudi Arabia, Russia, of course, Russia, is out of the market now more or less.” Nigeria was also unable to fulfil its output obligations, added Sylva.

Recent COVID-19-related lockdowns in parts of China – the world’s largest crude importer – also played a significant role in the global oil dynamics. The lack of Chinese oil consumption due to the lockdowns helped keep the markets in a check – somewhat.

Oil prices haven’t peaked yet because Chinese demand has yet to return to normal, a United Arab Emirates official told a conference in Jordan early this month. “If we continue consuming, with the pace of consumption we have, we are nowhere near the peak because China is not back yet,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said. “China will come with more consumption.”

Al-Mazrouei warned that without more investment across the globe, OPEC and its allies can’t guarantee sufficient supplies of oil as demand fully recovers from the pandemic.

But the check on the Chinese crude consumption seems to be easing.

On Saturday, Beijing, a city of 21 million-plus people, announced that primary and secondary schools would resume in-person classes. And as life seemed to return to normal, the Universal Beijing Resort, which was closed for nearly two months, reopened on Saturday.

Chinese economic hub Shanghai, with a population of 28 million-plus people, also declared victory over COVID after reporting zero new local cases for the first time in two months.

The two major cities were among several places in China that implemented curbs to stop the spread of the omicron wave from March to May.

But the easing of sanctions should mean oil’s price trajectory will resume its upward march.

In the meantime, in the U.S., the Biden administration is eying tougher anti-smog requirements. According to Bloomberg, that could negatively impact drilling across parts of the Permian Basin, which straddles Texas and New Mexico and is the world’s biggest oil field.

While the world is looking for clues about what the loss of supply from Russia will mean, reports are pouring in that the ongoing political turmoil in Libya could plague its oil output throughout the year.

The return of blockades on oilfields and export terminals amid renewed political tension is depriving the market of some of Libya’s oil at a time of tight global supply, said Tsvetana Paraskova in a piece for

And in the ongoing political push to strangle Russian energy output, the G7 was reportedly discussing a price cap on oil imports from Russia. Western countries are increasingly frustrated that their efforts to squeeze out Russian energy supplies from the markets have had the counterproductive effect of driving up the global crude price, which is leading to Russia earning more money for its war chest.

To tackle the issue, and increase pressure on Russia, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is proposing a price cap on Russian crude oil sales. The idea is to lift the sanction on insurance for Russian crude cargo for countries that accept buying Russian oil at an agreed maximum price. Her proposal is aimed at squeezing Russian crude out of the market as much as possible.

So the bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing.

By Rashid Husain Syed

Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed is a respected energy and political analyst. The Middle East is his area of focus. As well as writing for major local and global newspapers, Rashid is also a regular speaker at major international conferences. He has provided his perspective on global energy issues to the Department of Energy in Washington and the International Energy Agency in Paris.

Courtesy of Troy Media

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WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

Oil prices are higher today following relatively positive news from China (easing some of its…



WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

Oil prices are higher today following relatively positive news from China (easing some of its COVID quarantine restrictions), Macron-inspired doubts over the ability of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to significantly boost output, and unrest in Ecuador and Libya helped lift prices.

“We’re in the crunch period, it’s hard to see any meaningful price relief for crude,” said John Kilduff.

There’s a lot of strength with China relaxing its Covid restrictions and starting its independent refiners, “we’re going to have another chunk of demand for crude oil,” as China relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions.

With no EIA data released last week due to a "systems issue" (they have issued a statement confirming that the data - and the newest data - will both be released tomorrow), the only guidance we have for now on the past week's inventory changes is from API...

API (last week)

  • Crude +5.607mm

  • Cushing -390k

  • Gasoline +1.216mm - first build since March

  • Distillates -1.656mm

API (this week)

  • Crude -3.799mm

  • Cushing -650k

  • Gasoline +2.852mm

  • Distillates +2.613mm

Crude stocks unexpectedly fell last week, almost erasing the major build from the week before (according to API). Gasoline stocks rose for the second straight week

Source: Bloomberg

WTI was hovering around $111.75 and pushed up to $112 after the unexpected crude draw...

Finally, we note that the tight supply situation in oil (especially European) is revealing itself in the WTI-Brent spread, grew to $6.19, the widest in almost three months.

“European demand will remain robust, especially as natural gas supplies run out, while the North American demand for crude is weakening,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

This is not good news for President Biden as prices are rising...

And his ratings are hitting record lows.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:37

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