Why learning to talk can be difficult

Nov 06, 2006

Problems in learning to talk are fairly common in young children. Sometimes these difficulties are a consequence of a known disease or of hearing loss, but usually there is no obvious explanation.

New evidence suggests that language disorder results when a child has a set of minor weaknesses, none of which would be particularly detrimental on its own, but which together cause significant problems, reports Professor Dorothy Bishop from the Department of Experimental Psychology in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Professor Bishop said: ‘For many years, there was a tendency to assume that poor language development in children was caused by poor parenting, but over the past few years it has become clear that genes play a major role.’

In some rare cases researchers can identify a specific genetic mutation linked with language impairment. In most cases, however, the child’s problems arise from a combination of several small difficulties – caused by both genes and environment – that affect skills such as short-term memory, the ability to hear fine differences between sounds, and the ability to retain verbal information.

Professor Bishop said: ‘Rather than blaming parents, we need to recognize that children can vary widely in the ease with which they learn to talk. These problems are not easy to fix, but as we come to understand them better, we can devise more effective interventions, tailored to the individual child’s underlying problems.’

Source: University of Oxford

Explore further: Finding psychological insights through social media

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Up in arms

Jan 28, 2014

In December 2012, when Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with a rifle and killed 20 children and six adult staff members, the United States found itself immersed ...

Recommended for you

Finding psychological insights through social media

Feb 28, 2015

Social media has opened up a new digital world for psychology research. Four researchers will be discussing new methods of language analysis, and how social media can be leveraged to study personality, mental and physical ...

Aggressive boys tend to develop into physically stronger teens

Feb 27, 2015

Boys who show aggressive tendencies develop greater physical strength as teenagers than boys who are not aggressive, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Scienc ...

New app helps monitor depression

Feb 27, 2015

Scientists from the University of Birmingham have developed an app that can measure the activity patterns of patients with depression and provide the necessary support.

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.