Speciality: Adult Community
Location: Yorkshire and Humber
Speciality: Paediatric Early Years
Location: North West England
Speciality: Adult Inpatient
Location: Beds and Herts
Young children who spend a lot of time using tablets and smartphones are more likely to experience delays in the development of their speech, according to a recent study.
Research carried out at the University of Toronto has led to the discovery that regular use of handheld technology can cause significant delays to children's speech.
The results of the study, which were presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting earlier this year, showed that for every extra 30 minutes a child spent using a handheld device such as a smartphone each day, their risk of delayed expressive speech increased by 49 per cent.
This was based on the observation of 894 children over a four-year period, all of whom were aged between six months and two years at the investigation's outset. The research was led by Julia Ma and titled 'Is handheld screen time use associated with language delay in infants?'.
When attending their 18-month check-ups, one-fifth of the infants were reported to use a handheld device for an average of 28 minutes each day. The researchers used a screening tool to monitor speech and language delay, finding that the children who spent the longest amount of time on mobile devices were most likely to experience delays in speech development.
However, increased use of handheld technology was not found to have any impact on their understanding and use of body language or social interactions, with only participants' speech affected.
The study's principal investigator Dr Catherine Birken stated: "Handheld devices are everywhere these days. While new paediatric guidelines suggest limiting screen time for babies and toddlers, we believe that the use of smartphones and tablets with young children has become quite common.
"This is the first study to report an association between handheld screen time and increased risk of expressive language delay."
Written by Martin Lambert
Mediplacements is a genuine specialist medical recruitment company. Contact us to see the latest speech therapy jobs.
Recent reports have highlighted a number of concerning cases regarding the treatment of people with learning...
Several different conditions - from strokes to traumatic brain injuries to degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s...
Many speech therapists will be familiar with patients who have completely lost the ability to speak. This...
Stuttering is one of the most common speech problems around, affecting approximately one per cent of adults...