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November 19, 2019 Tuesday 10:16:19 AM IST

Social hardship harms language skills

Teacher Insights

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are three times more likely to develop difficulties with language than those from more affluent areas, research suggests.

Researchers say the findings highlight the need for policies to address the social factors that can hamper speech, language and communication (SLC) development.

Failing to do so means children might not fully develop the language skills that are critical for emotional development, wellbeing and educational and employment opportunities.

A team from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian looked at more than 26,000 records  which showed that pre-school children living in the most economically deprived neighbourhoods were three times more likely to have SLC concern than those brought up in better-off areas.


It is believed that growing up in neighbourhoods with low income and unemployment - which experience problems with education, health, access to services, crime and housing - can increase the risk of setbacks.

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