April 02, 2004
Communication difficulties

More worrying reported here that kids these days don't know how to communicate like they used to, this time the kids being the very young ones.

A recent survey of nursery staff carried out by I Can, a children's charity, revealed that almost all had at least one child in the nursery with communication problems. Ten per cent said they had 10 or more children with difficulties.

They reported that growing numbers of pre-school children could not accomplish simple tasks such as explaining what they were doing, concentrating, speaking clearly and following instructions. They said that children often responded with monosyllabic answers or gestures, rather than appropriate language.

Staff pinpointed several factors for the increase: 92 per cent felt that the lack of adult time spent talking with the children was the key reason and 82 per cent blamed the passive use of television. Two thirds mentioned a trend for parents to talk for their child and others suggested that the use of videos and computers was also to blame. Almost half felt the situation was a matter of extreme concern.

"The hard research evidence isn't there as yet because it hasn't been done," says Gill Edelman, chief executive of I Can.

"But there is a growing body of opinion among professionals that there are more children than there used to be with communication difficulties - and boys are three times more likely to have problems than girls. Early intervention is critical because by the time they get to primary school they may already have developed behavioural problems through frustration.

My fantasy solution is to get all those useless teenagers who now lounge around taking drugs and being disaffected to make themselves useful, by talking to the little tots. Dealing with the reality of such creatures might dissuade them from creating more themselves, before they are ready to look after them properly (see above), and it would help.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:57 PM
Category: Parents and children