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Online Lecture: Robin Balbernie

It starts with baby chat: relationships, language and technoference


Time & Date:
Friday 25th November 2022

via Zoom

Relationships are fundamental to human development, and what goes on between a baby and parents, in most cases, is continually commented on by all participants in their different ways. This presentation will circle around how babies are hard wired to connect and communicate especially if this is done in a certain way. It is not just the growth of language that begins with babies and parents mutually enjoying just chatting away to each other. Nonsense makes good sense here. Such early exchanges have similar musical elements across the world and these have a wider influence than one might first suspect. They create and build the closeness that is central to both the attachment dynamic and the early establishment of important neural networks in the growing brain. However, these days there is a complication outside of our evolutionary programming – blooming technology. So, the final part looks at some of the evidence for how screens of all sorts may simply mess up babies’ expectations for lively exchanges and in turn negatively impact some aspects of social and emotional development.


Robin Balbernie is an infant mental health specialist and was the Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Gloucestershire CAMHS. For many years, beginning with the Sure Start programme, he worked with the Children’s Centres in the county as clinical lead of ‘Secure Start’, providing a community infant mental health service. He was also involved with the Intensive Care Baby Unit at Gloucester Royal Hospital throughout his time in CAMHS as well as running regular supervision groups for Health Visitors. He is chair of the Peter Lang Children’s Trust, a charity that supports voluntary sector initiatives helping parents and children, from conception to age three, within Gloucestershire. When PIP UK was being established, he was initially a Trustee and later became Clinical Director, helping to set up and then supporting specialised infant mental health teams across the country for over five years.

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