Thursday 22 March 2018

Boys struggle more to talk

Richard Garner in London

ONE IN six children experiences difficulties in learning how to talk, according to a new poll.

Boys are twice as likely to struggle as girls, the survey of more than 1,000 parents also reveals. The poll, conducted by Btitain's YouGov to coincide with the first day in office of the new UK Communication Champion for Children Jean Gross, says 4pc of children had still not said their first word by the time they reached three.

It showed 22pc of boys and 13pc of girls were likely to experience difficulties with talking and understanding speech. Just 54pc of these received help from a speech or language therapist.

The average age for children to start talking was between 10 and 11 months.

The most common first word was "dada" (cited by 15pc of parents). "Mama" came second at 10pc despite children spending more time with their mothers. "Cat" was in third place, being the first word uttered by 2pc of children.

Unusual first words cited included "beer" and "titsup".

"Our ability to communicate is fundamental and underpins everything else," said Jean Gross.

"It is essential that all children get the help they need from skilled professionals as early as possible."

A spokesperson for the UK's Department of Children, Schools and Families said: "It's right that good communication should start at home, and it's vital that it continues at nursery and in school. We're committed to improving the outcomes for children with communication difficulties." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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