Psychologists are developing a tool that could dramatically improve the diagnosis of language issues in UK babies.
Using £358,000 of grant money, education and health professionals are hoping to establish a standard language development guideline for UK babies aged between eight and 18 months.
The 30-month-long study is being funded by the ESRC and will take into account a family’s income and level of education to find out how it impacts a child’s language development.
Research team leader Dr Katie Alcock said: “Effective tools have been developed abroad, but they are not appropriate for UK English speakers. Tools developed in the US, for example, have been shown to give inaccurate results for UK children. One research group for example found that using US scores with UK children would lead to high numbers of UK children being misdiagnosed as language delayed. ”
Dr Alcock added that once completed, the research would directly help to improve the speech development of UK children, which could make a significant difference to the wellbeing of the child and their family.
Researchers are currently looking for toddlers to take part in the study; they especially would like to hear from English speakers with an area-specific dialect such as Northern Ireland or Scotland.
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