Mixed results for late-talking toddlers

May 15, 2008

New research findings from the world’s largest study on language emergence have revealed that one in four late talking toddlers continue to have language problems by age 7.

The LOOKING at Language project has analysed the speech development of 1766 children in Western Australia from infancy to seven years of age, with particular focus on environmental, neuro-developmental and genetic risk factors. It is the first study to look at predictors of late language.

The latest findings have just been published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

LOOKING at Language Chief Investigator Professor Mabel Rice said the findings were mixed news for parents worried about their child’s language development.

“While a late start doesn’t necessarily predict on-going language problems, most school aged children with impaired language were late talkers,” Professor Rice said.

“That’s why it’s essential that late talkers are professionally evaluated by a speech pathologist and have their hearing checked. We know that early intervention can greatly assist with a child’s language development.”

Co-Chief Investigator Associate Professor Kate Taylor said the next challenge for researchers was to find ways to identify which children were likely to outgrow the problem so that interventions could be targeted at those in need.

“Our study has previously shown that 13% of two year olds are late talkers and that boys are three times as likely to have a delay at that age,” Associate Professor Taylor said.

“What we now can see from our data is that by seven years of age, 80% of late talkers have caught up, and that boys are at no greater risk than girls. However, one in five late talkers was below age expectations for language at school-age”

Other findings from the LOOKING at Language project have included that a mother’s education, income, parenting style or mental health had no impact on a child’s likelihood of being a late talker.

By 24 months, children will usually have a vocabulary of around 50 words and have begun combining those words in two or three word sentences.

A second stage of the research is now looking at language development in twins.

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Court clears German safety body in breast implant scare

Related Stories

When modern Eurasia was born

Jun 10, 2015

Modern Eurasian peoples are genetically speaking not more than a couple of thousand years old. It was during the Bronze Age that the last major chapters were written in the story of the genetic past of Europe ...

Rumor-detection software IDs disputed claims on Twitter

May 29, 2015

A week after the Boston marathon bombing, hackers sent a bogus tweet from the official Twitter handle of the Associated Press. It read: "Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured."

Recommended for you

Drug and device firms paid $6.5B to care providers

Jun 30, 2015

From research dollars to free lunches and junkets, drug and medical device companies paid doctors and leading hospitals nearly $6.5 billion last year, according to government data posted Tuesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.