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The youngsters who struggle to speak because their parents let them to watch too much TV!


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The youngsters who struggle to speak because their parents let them to watch too much TV



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 9:46 AM on 04th January 2010




Nearly a quarter of boys - and one in seven girls - is struggling to learn to talk because thousands of households keep their TV sets on constantly making it difficult for them to understand the speech of adults around them.

A survey revealed how 22 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls have trouble developing speech and understanding others.


Three per cent suffer 'significant' problems, according to a poll published by Jean Gross, the Government's communications adviser.


Middle-class children were just as likely to experience problems as youngsters from less affluent families, it emerged.



article-0-04511B6E0000044D-489_468x286.jpg Middle-class children were just as likely to experience problems as youngsters from less affluent families, it emerged. (Posed by models)


Most common first words

1. Dad/Dadda 15%


2. Daddy 13%

3. Mama/Mamma 10%

4. Dad 10%

5. Mummy 8%

6. Mum 7%

7. Cat 2%

8. Car 1%

9. No 1%

10. Dog 1%


The survey also showed how more than a quarter of families has a TV on either 'most of the time' or 'all the time'.

One in ten youngsters aged just one or two has a set in their own room, while a third of five to seven-year-olds have their own TVs.


Mrs Gross is concerned that even if children are not watching the TV themselves, the background noise makes it hard for them to understand their parents' or older siblings' speech.


She fears that speech problems experienced by some children are linked to limited exposure to language in their early years.


'Our brains have not evolved to learn from machines. Babies are primed to respond to a face, and to recognise their parents' faces,' she said.


Her survey, conducted by YouGov, also investigated children's first words and confirmed that 'dadda' and 'daddy' are more likely to be spoken than 'mama' or 'mamma'.







Dadda is thought to be easier for babies to pronounce.


More unusual first words included 'beer', 'gadget' and even 't**s up'.


The most common age for children to say their first word was between 10 and 11 months, the survey of 1,000 parents showed.


More girls than boys - 34 per cent against 27 per cent - had said their first word before they reached nine months.


But four per cent of children had not said their first word by age three.


Meanwhile 13 to 18 months was the most common age for children to start putting two words together - like 'want drink' or 'doggie gone'.


Girls were on average quicker than boys to put two words together, with 64 per cent having done this by 18 months compared with 54 per cent of boys.


Overall, 17 per cent of children experienced 'slight or significant difficulty' learning to talk.


But just half of these children had been helped by a speech therapist.


Mrs Gross said: 'Our ability to communicate is fundamental and underpins everything else.


'Learning to talk is one of the most important skills a child can master in the 21st century.


'The proportion of children who have difficulty learning to talk and understand speech is high, particularly among boys.


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


'The lack of this is cause for great concern because the results of this poll shows that parents place learning to talk and listen as a top priority for their children, whatever their social class, and do a great deal to help them learn to communicate.'


Her study found that almost all parents read with their children, tell stories, play word games and sing nursery rhymes with them.


Middle-class children were more likely to enjoy this at the age of just three months or younger.


Parents also tended to know the best approach to incorrect words spoken by their child - to repeat it back in the correct way but not point out the mistake.


Mrs Gross went on to urge parents who do not speak English as a first language to help their children master their home language instead of speaking to them mainly in English.


'Experts say that children with a firm grounding in the home language do best in later life,' she said.


Mrs Gross was appointed in October last year by the Government to promote children's speaking skills and improve services for those with difficulties.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240406/How-constant-TV-giving-children-speech-problems.html#ixzz0beozuXOz

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