Study: late talkers can catch up as they grow up

16:37, July 05, 2011      

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An Australian study showed that expressive vocabulary delay is unlikely to have lingering effects on the children's mental health.

The new findings, appearing in the August issue of Pediatrics, revealed that late talkers or children with limited number of words by age 2 may have some behavioral and emotional issues as toddlers, but these issues will not follow them through their childhood and teen years.

"Expressive vocabulary delay at the age of 2 years is not in itself a risk factor for later behavioral and emotional disturbances," Andrew Whitehouse and colleagues at the University of Western Australia wrote in Pediatrics.

A two-year-old typically says a few hundred words, but there is a lot of variation, according to the study which followed more than 1,400 two-year-olds.

About one of every 10 two-year-olds in the study was a late talker, scoring in the lowest 15 percent on a list of 310 common words.

The research group followed late talkers into their teens and found that they were no more likely to be shy, depressed or aggressive than their peers as they grew up.

Between 7 to 18 percent of children have language delays at two years, although most catch up by the time they start school.

Whitehouse and his colleagues warned that it's important to pay attention if the children don't catch up, because persistent language deficits have been tied to mental health problems.

Source: Xinhua
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