speech delay

Study: Speech Delay May be Caused, Worsened By Excess Screen Time

Staff Report, FOCUS Therapy

An increase of screen time among young children – particularly involving smartphones and iPads – may heighten the risk of a speech delay, according to new research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.

As Science Daily reports, the analysis examines whether handheld screen time use is associated with an increase in language delays among infants. Over the course of four years, researchers looked at how closely about 900 children, ages 6 months to 2 years, interacted with electronic devices. Then they compared their rates of language and speech delay.

By the time these children reached 18 months, 20 percent of them were using a handheld device an average of a half hour daily. The children were then screened for a speech delay.  Researchers found that for each 30-minute increase in the time these children had access to handheld screens, there was a 49 percent higher risk of expressive speech delay.

Expressive language skills are broadly understood to describe how a person communicates their wants or needs. It encompasses both verbal and non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions, gestures, vocabulary and syntax (grammar rules).