Gender and Genes Play Important Role in Delayed Language Development

Association of Educators
February 27, 2014 — 712 views  

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in six children in the US had developmental disability in the 2006 to 2008 period. New research in this field has suggested that both the genes and the gender have an important impact in delayed development of language, with boys more vulnerable than girls. Developmental disability, in this context, includes intellectual disability.

The study

The full study has been published in the magazine, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. The findings have been the result of hard work conducted by a number of researchers, including Eivind Ystrøm of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. They have analyzed the data extracted from questionnaires answered by mothers who took part in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

The study took place with 10,587 children and who were observed from week 17 of the gestation period until they reached the age of five years. When the children reached three and five years of age, the investigators made three groups to categorize them. The children of the first group included those with a persistent delayed development of the language which was present when they were three and five years old.

The second group was composed of children who suffered from transient delayed development of the language which was present at three years old, and third group was made of children who were identified with delayed development of the language and was identified first at the age of 5 years.

Boys more susceptible to risk than girls

Research results have shown that the transient and persistent delayed development in language are mainly exhibited by boys. According to Ystrøm, this is due to the fact that boys are at much more biological risk of development disorders while in womb compared to girls. He noted that past studies have indicated that testosterone levels in the amniotic fluid have exhibited levels which demonstrate association with language disorders and autism.

Ystrøm has said that, generally, boys show late language development compared to girls, but points out that most of the boys catch up within the first year, which means that the boys who are susceptible to transient and persistent disorders in language, could be free of them before getting admission into a school.  The research team, however, was not able to find any kind of association with gender in the case of the third group, which suffered from difficulties in language between three and five years of age, which suggested another factor to be the reason.

Association of Educators