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Language as a child wellbeing indicator. Report by Early Intervention


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An interesting research piece has been published this week highlighting the correlation between a child's language skills and their sense of wellbeing. The report summarises:

"Early language acquisition impacts on all aspects of young children’s non-physical development. It contributes to their ability to manage emotions and communicate feelings, to establish and maintain relationships, to think symbolically, and to learn to read and write. While the majority of young children acquire language effortlessly, a significant minority do not.
The UK prevalence rate for early language difficulties is between 5% and 8% of all children, and over 20% for those growing up in low-income households. The high prevalence among disadvantaged children is thought to contribute to the achievement gap that exists by the time children enter school and continues until they leave.
It is well known that language difficulties predict problems in literacy and reading comprehension, but less well known that they may be indicative of problems in children’s behaviour and mental health as well. The evidence shows that children with poor vocabulary skills at age 5 are more likely to have reading difficulties as an adult, more likely to have mental health problems, and more likely to be unemployed. Because language and communication skills are so essential for school education and achievement, and future employment prospects, allowing less well-off children to fall behind in their language development risks undermining their life chances and perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and poverty.
To ensure children with language development problems do not fall through the cracks, EIF is calling for early language development to be prioritised as a child wellbeing indicator, so that it must be treated as a public health issue, like vaccination, obesity and mental health. This change would make it clear that language development problems have serious consequences and require additional support, even when they are not the result of acute or clinical disorders."
You can download the research piece from here
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Can't find any reference to EAL or second/third language children in this.I have assumed that this has been assessed in their home language but then the info from education will probably be assessed in English. Although I suspect EAL does not in itself cause SALT issues the lack of a nuclear family/support networks may have the same effect as coming from a poorer family ? (just a thought!) It is quite tricky to work out if EAL children have SALT issue if you don't speak their language and I suspect this might take practitioners longer to diagnose a problem too.

These things may have been taken in to account by this research but without reading all the reference material it is difficult to tell

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