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Some toddlers showing gaps in communication skills, study finds

While much has been made about learning losses among school-aged children, a study finds that younger kids are showing gaps in communication skills.
Some toddlers showing gaps in communication skills, study finds
Posted at 9:47 AM, Jul 17, 2023

A study published earlier this month in the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed some children born early in the pandemic had gaps in their communication skills. 

The study, primarily consisting of Irish children, found parents of children born early in the pandemic were about twice as likely to report issues with communication. The research was led by RCSI, Children’s Health Ireland and University College Cork.

The study looked at a number of developmental milestones among children born in the first few months of the pandemic. 

The study's authors noted that not all children had reduced skills. 

"The majority of pandemic-born babies had entirely normal communication scores, but in the overall group, there was a statistically relevant higher proportion at risk of developmental concerns compared to the pre-pandemic group," said Dr. Susan Byrne, co-author of the study. 

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Researchers noted that there were no noticeable differences in other developmental patterns, such as movement, personal and social interactions and solving problems, among children born early in the pandemic compared to those born before the pandemic. 

While a lot of research has focused on school-aged children, the study's authors say this age group will also need to be monitored.

"Our findings highlight the need to continue national developmental screening programs for all children, and provide the appropriate resources for early intervention services," study co-author Johnathan Hourihane said.

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