Twins are helping us understand the role of genes and the environment in how language develops over time. An important aim of our study is to help explain why some children have language disorders. We hope to identify risk factors that will help us to identify children who may require help with language development and later with reading. We also want to understand why some children who are late to start talking catch up when they are older and why some children continue to have language difficulties.
What have we done?
This internationally unique study has followed the language development of more than 2000 WA children from 2-14 years. Extended funding has enabled researchers to continue to monitor the twins as they developed through adolescence. In addition to formal language tests, researchers collected genetic and environmental data as well as assessments with the twins' siblings and family members.
Data collection for this project was based entirely in WA and involved 5000 children and families overall.
How will the outcomes of this research make a difference?
You have helped to answer fundamental questions about how and when children learn to talk, and what can be done to help those who struggle. This will help in the early identification of children at risk of developing communication disorders and lead to the implementation of more effective intervention strategies. A child's ability to communicate is one of the most important developmental accomplishments and builds the foundation for success at school and beyond. Children with language difficulties face many challenges throughout life. Language and literacy difficulties in the crucial early years of school restrict children's opportunities to learn and their social and emotional development.
The data collection phase of the Looking at Language study finished in June 2017.
Our researchers are currently working hard to analyse the data.
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