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‘One in six children have problems talking’

Published 04/01/2010

Almost one in six children have problems learning to talk, with boys facing more difficulties than girls, a survey found today.

More than one in five (22%) of boys experience problems with talking and understanding speech, compared to around one in seven (13%) girls, according to a poll of over 1,000 parents of youngsters aged one to seven.

Boys are also twice as likely as girls (5% compared to 2%) to have significant problems with talking.

The poll was published by Jean Gross, England's first communications champion, to mark the start of her new post.

The findings show that almost 17% of children face difficulties with communication.

A quarter (23%) do not receive any help with speech problems, and almost half (46%) did not receive help from a speech and language therapist. Others received help from a teacher, health visitor or nursery and playgroup staff.

Ms Gross said: “Our ability to communicate is fundamental and underpins everything else.

“Learning to talk is one of the most important skills a child can master in the 21st century.

“The proportion of children who have difficulty learning to talk and understand speech is high, particularly among boys.”

The YouGov poll questioned 1,015 parents of children aged one to seven between December 15-18.

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