Nearly 80 percent of children with language delays at age two catch up when they turn seven, according to a new study.
In the study led by Mabel Rice, the Fred and Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies and director of the Centre for Biobehavioral from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, the team examined the language development of single and twin children in the western part of the country.
They found that of 1,766 toddlers, boys are three times as likely as girls to be late-talking toddlers. Yet when the children were 7 years of age, no differences were found between girls and boys.
Rice said that obviously some kind of mechanism kicks in for the boys.
“Between the age of 2 and 7, they actually learn language faster than girls. After age 7, boys and girls stay on the same trajectory.
“For children who are still late talkers in school, it is important to provide early intervention and enrichment. “Parents should contact a speech pathologist if they have any concerns,” she added.
The data in her latest study also show that a mother’s education, income, parenting style and mental health does not predict when a child will start to talk.
“In our large and diverse sample, children in families with limited means have as good a chance at starting to talk as those in families with lots of resources,” said Rice.
The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.