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BBC News: Following Lockdowns, Child Speech Delays Increase

Posted on
November 7, 2022
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BBC News recently shared the increasing numbers in child speech delays following lockdowns. Children ranging between 5 and 6 years, and needing speech and language support within schools has increased by 10% across England.

The limitation in social interaction during lockdown is one of the contributing causes. The demand is struggling to be met says The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). However, the government claims to be investing into early years development, estimating to £ 180 million.

Comparing from 2020/21 to 2021/22, the amount of children needing extra support has increased from 38,560 to 42,341. Speech and Language UK charity also shared to BBC that these social limitations and lack of new experiences, affected children’s development to learn new words. Many schools, such as Northwood Community Primary School in Knowsley, shares that children experiencing language difficulties are more, compared to previous years.

Headteacher, Sarah Murphy, expresses her observation of children’s natural communication and interaction skills being negatively affected, particularly for those who started school in September 2020. The opportunity for play-based learning had been missed and disrupted early years learning.

Learning in school

Furthermore, BBC News shares tips for parents:

  • Make some time for playing and chatting with your child every day.
  • Follow their lead.
  • Make comments rather than asking your child lots of questions. Questions can feel like a test to children.
  • Share books with your child. This doesn't mean you have to read all the words - you can talk about the pictures.
  • Build a good relationship with your child's school.
  • Discuss your concerns and see if they have noticed the same things and what can be done to help.

Chief executive of RCSLT, Kamini Gadhok, says the BBC's research confirms what she had been told anecdotally. To read more on BBC News, by education reporter, Vanessa Clarke and shared data unit, Paul Lynch & Paul Bradshaw, see here.

Emilie Spire
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