Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Parents generally first to spot learning difficulties:

Parents are more likely to identify their child's speech and language problems than early childhood educators and carers.
By Motherpedia
Date: July 05 2013
Editor Rating:

A new study has found that while parents often rely on early childhood educators and carers (ECECs) to identify their child’s speech and language problems, they are much more likely to spot the difficulties themselves.

Lead researcher Dr Jane McCormack from Charles Sturt University said that many parents expect ECECs will spot their child’s communication difficulties but the ECECs often feel unqualified or reluctant to label a child as having problems.

“Parents should have confidence in their ability to identify concerns about their child’s speech and language development,” Dr McCormack said.

“Early childhood educators and carers need additional training to enable them to identify communication difficulties, as well as to provide help and support to these children and their families.”

“Early intervention is crucial for limiting negative long-term outcomes.”

The negative impacts of communication difficulties are well documented and include a higher risk of literacy problems, lower academic achievement, low self esteem and behavioural problems.

Dr McCormack said that increased funding for collaboration between speech pathologists and ECECs to first identify, then provide the important intervention is needed to give children a best start in life.

“‘Integrated services’ is the new buzz word, but services are only integrated if the professionals working in them are supported to work together and deliver better outcomes for children and their families,” Dr McCormack said.

The research uses information from over 4,000 Australian children participating in the Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Dr McCormack presented her research to a recent conference of the Speech Pathology Association of Australia.

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