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How COVID-19 Affected Language Development in Children and What We Can Learn from It

How COVID-19 Affected Language Development in Children and What We Can Learn from It

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, especially for children with language delays. A recent study titled "Association between interruption of intervention and language performance in young children with language delay: a cohort study during COVID-19 pandemic" by Hsu and Wong provides valuable insights into how these interruptions affected language development in young children. Here's what practitioners can learn from this study to improve their therapeutic approaches.

The Study in a Nutshell

This study examined 33 children who experienced a three-month interruption in their language intervention programs due to the pandemic. The researchers collected data on their language performance using the Comprehensive Developmental Inventory for Infants and Toddlers-Diagnostic Test (CDIIT-DT) at four different time points. The results showed a decline in language abilities during the interruption but a significant improvement once interventions resumed.

Key Findings

Practical Implications for Practitioners

Based on these findings, here are some actionable steps practitioners can take:

1. Prioritize Continuity in Therapy

Maintaining consistent intervention schedules is crucial. Even short interruptions can negatively impact language development, especially in children with borderline delays. Teletherapy options can be a valuable tool to ensure continuity.

2. Focus on Language Comprehension

The study found that language comprehension scores were more sensitive to interruptions. Techniques like Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT) and interactive book reading can help strengthen language comprehension, which in turn supports overall language development.

3. Tailor Post-Interruption Strategies

Post-interruption interventions should be intensified to make up for lost time. Focus on individualized plans that target the specific needs of each child to accelerate their progress.

4. Educate Parents

Parents often underestimate the importance of ongoing intervention, especially when their child shows borderline delays. Educate them on the risks of interruption and the benefits of continuous therapy.

Encouraging Further Research

While this study provides valuable insights, it also highlights the need for further research. Larger sample sizes and diverse populations can help validate these findings and develop more robust intervention strategies.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Association between interruption of intervention and language performance in young children with language delay: a cohort study during COVID-19 pandemic.


Citation: Hsu, S.-C., & Wong, A. M.-K. (2023). Association between interruption of intervention and language performance in young children with language delay: a cohort study during COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 11, 1240354. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2023.1240354

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