Mixed results for late-talking toddlers

May 14, 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.
-end-
The LOOKING at Language study is undertaken at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in partnership with Curtin University of Technology, the University of Kansas and University of Nebraska Medical Center (USA).

The study was funded by a grant from the USA National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (DC005226 MR, SZ, KT) and Healthway.

Research Australia

Related Language Articles from Brightsurf:

Learning the language of sugars
We're told not to eat too much sugar, but in reality, all of our cells are covered in sugar molecules called glycans.

How effective are language learning apps?
Researchers from Michigan State University recently conducted a study focusing on Babbel, a popular subscription-based language learning app and e-learning platform, to see if it really worked at teaching a new language.

Chinese to rise as a global language
With the continuing rise of China as a global economic and trading power, there is no barrier to prevent Chinese from becoming a global language like English, according to Flinders University academic Dr Jeffrey Gil.

'She' goes missing from presidential language
MIT researchers have found that although a significant percentage of the American public believed the winner of the November 2016 presidential election would be a woman, people rarely used the pronoun 'she' when referring to the next president before the election.

How does language emerge?
How did the almost 6000 languages of the world come into being?

New research quantifies how much speakers' first language affects learning a new language
Linguistic research suggests that accents are strongly shaped by the speaker's first language they learned growing up.

Why the language-ready brain is so complex
In a review article published in Science, Peter Hagoort, professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University and director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, argues for a new model of language, involving the interaction of multiple brain networks.

Do as i say: Translating language into movement
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a computer model that can translate text describing physical movements directly into simple computer-generated animations, a first step toward someday generating movies directly from scripts.

Learning language
When it comes to learning a language, the left side of the brain has traditionally been considered the hub of language processing.

Learning a second alphabet for a first language
A part of the brain that maps letters to sounds can acquire a second, visually distinct alphabet for the same language, according to a study of English speakers published in eNeuro.

Read More: Language News and Language Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.