Checklist to help parents keep track of language development

February 20, 2012, 1:07 pmYahoo!7

A checklist of basic words could help parents to determine whether their child’s language skills are developing appropriately

Checklist to help parents keep track of language development
Toddler + Preschooler

Every new parent waits excitedly for their offspring’s first words, but many are in the dark when it comes to identifying language difficulties and delays. How many words should a child be speaking at age two, and what does it mean if they’re lagging behind?

Fear not – the answer is at hand. Researchers at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania have devised a simple checklist to help parents determine whether their child is at risk of language-related difficulties, and say that early identification of any issues could allow parents to seek early intervention to minimise the chances of ongoing problems.

The study found that children who could speak fewer than 50 words at two years of age were more likely to struggle with vocabulary, grammar and reading ability as teenagers.

They were also more likely to be diagnosed with conditions such as autism, hearing impairment and other developmental delays.

The 15-year study followed a group of 40 children who had been diagnosed as late talkers, but who were otherwise developing normally.

While most of the children had caught up by four or five years of age, they remained slightly behind their peers in vocabulary, grammar and reading throughout their school years, and researchers suggest that this is a result of their late speech development.

In addition, while around 80% of those who were behind at age two were simply ‘late bloomers’, those who were still behind at age three may need language therapy to help them catch up.

To help parents and health professionals identify toddlers at risk of language delays, study author Professor Leslie Rescorla developed a checklist of 310 basic words which children come across in everyday life. A child with average speaking ability would be using 150 to 200 of the words on the list, while those who used less than 50 at age two could be considered to have some degree of delay.

Professor Rescorla also stressed the importance of spending time talking to your child, and not relying on television or computer programmes to teach your child to speak.

‘Children really need to have people talk to them in order for them to acquire a language - not that they don't learn anything from videos and television, but really they need language partners,’ she says.

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  1. *JL*09:56pm Thursday 02nd May 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Many younger parents don't have a clue about raising children and think they "know it all" and will not listen to any advice or help from the older generation. That was how we learned our parenting skills, help from parents and grandparents because we respected them. Children of today know way more about video games and T.V. shows than they do about the necessary basics of numbers, alphabet and general age appropriate developmental skills.. The parents want to be their "friends" and are too scared to even discipline them. Our society is showing the signs of an out of control downward spiral. .It is very obvious that Australia is slipping really fast and society accepts too much. Parents are not even teaching their children the very basics anymore. Perhaps they think the children will learn at school, BUT most of the basics are taught in a good home long before school life begins.


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