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Language development in twins

Twin Talk: Speech and Language Development in Twins

Twins can be double the fun, double the trouble, or double the talk! Multiples can be an exciting challenge for parents who are working to give each child his or her own individual time. As difficult as that may be, twins also have a communicative partner from birth! Some parents report on “twin language,” or babbling between two babies, which seems like their own language. This babbling can be great for language development as the babies tend to mimic each other’s intonational patterns (or rise and fall of their voices). This can lead to longer “conversations” between babies, as well as bond the two babies as they are primarily communicating with each other.

Conversely, some research has shown that twin language may be an early phonologicalTwin Talk: Language Development in Twins disorder (or sound substitutions/deletions/insertions). Researchers have found that as sounds are developing inappropriately, this twin talk perpetuates these errors, as babies are “understood” by their siblings, so there is no real need to correct misarticulations.

Twins also tend to have an increased likelihood of later language emergence, primarily due to the higher percentage of premature babies. Both monozygotic and dizygotic twins may develop language behind their singleton peers, so it is important for parents to keep in mind their children’s adjusted age (should they be premature).

Red Flags for Speech Development in Twins:

  • Both babies missing milestones: keeping track of appropriate language development, taking into account the babies’ adjusted age, can help parents monitor their twins’ development.
  • One baby is developing more quickly: paying attention to each individuals’ progress when developing speech and language is so important. If parents notice that one child is significantly behind their other, intervention may be warranted.
  • Singleton red flags: Overall, the red flags for multiples are the same as for singletons, taking into account adjusted age, as necessary. Babies should acquire their first words around 1 year, and should be consistently learning new words until they reach “word spurt,” or rapid language growth around 18 months.

It is also important to note that monozygotic twins tend to have higher rates for speech and language disorders that dizygotic twins, so it is important that parents monitor speech, language and overall development and growth. As with all children, red flags and milestones are variable, and it is important to remember that some babies progress faster or slower than others. Should parents have concerns regarding speech-language development, it is important to check in with pediatricians or licensed speech-language pathologists!


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References:
Lewis, B.A., & Thompson, L.A. (1992). A study of developmental speech and language disorders in twins. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. 35(5), 1086-1094.

Rice, M.L., Zubrick, S.R., Taylor, C.L., Gayan, K., & Contempo, D.E. (2014). Late language emergence in 24-month old twins: Heritable and increased risk for late language emergence in twins. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 57(3), 917-928.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

How to Treat Twins as Individuals

In general, parents that have twins are very concerned with treating their children equally, but they often struggle in allowing their twinschildren to find their own identity. Parents usually dress twins in matching outfits, sign them up for the same activities, purchase two of the same toy and even arrange play dates to be together.

In order to make sure that you treat your twins as individuals, try keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Clothes: Clothing reveals a lot about an individual and it is a way that people tend to show their creativity and identity. Do not feel obligated to dress your twins in identical outfits. Choosing clothes that differ in color will allow your child’s personality to show itself. When your children get older have them help pick out their outfits and dress in the clothes that they truly like.
  • Activities: If one twin is enrolled in dance, it does not imply that the other child should do the same. Make sure that the activities your twins are enrolled in reveal their personal skills and interests. Although this may require you to drive around more often, your children will be Read more

Are Premature Babies Delayed?

The term premature refers to any infant that was born earlier than 37 weeks of gestation. Premature births occur in 10% of all live births. Premature babies (“preemies”) are at risk for multiple health problems, including breathing difficulties, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and delays in their gross and fine motor skills.

Premature baby

Why are babies born pre-term?

The cause of premature labor is not fully understood. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of premature labor: a woman that has experienced premature labor with a previous birth, a woman that is pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets, etc), and a woman with cervical or uterine defects. Certain health problems can also increase the risk of premature labor, including diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia, obesity, in-vitro fertilization, and a short time period between pregnancies.

What are the effects of being born pre-term?

In addition to multiple medical complications, a baby that is born before 37 weeks of gestation is at risk for developmental problems in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sensory integration, speech and language skills, and learning. The baby may take longer to reach specific developmental milestones or need help to reach those milestones. The earlier babies are born, the more at risk they are for having delays. Each child is different as well, and no two preemies will be delayed in exactly the same manner.

If you or your pediatrician suspects that your baby is developmentally delayed, there are a variety of professionals that can assist your child in achieving his or her full potential. A physical therapist can help facilitate development of gross motor milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, or jumping. An occupational therapist can help develop fine motor skills such as object manipulation, hand-eye coordination, and reaching, as well as sensory integration. Speech therapists can help improve language skills and articulation.  Consult with your pediatrician or talk with one of our Family Child Advocates to receive more information on setting up an evaluation with a skilled therapist at NSPT.

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What Causes Speech Delay In Twins | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a pediatric speech and language pathologist explains what may cause delayed speech in twins.  For more on speech development in twins, read this blog.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • Possible causes of speech delay in twins
  • What is “twin talk”
  • When to seek help from a professional

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and today I’m standing here with Speech and Language
Pathologist, Tanya Lotzof. Tanya, can you tell us are twins more
prone to delayed speech?

Tanya: Robyn, that’s a great question, and I think the most important
things to consider are the possible causes for speech and
language delays in twins.

Let’s start off with perinatal factors. Prematurity is common
among twins as is low birth weight. Then there are environmental
factors. Oftentimes there’s less one-on-one interaction with
twins. There’s also something called twin talk, which is a
language that twins often use between each other that they can
understand but other people can’t understand. And then there’s
oftentimes where one twin will talk more than the other twin,
and that can put them at a greater risk.

So if you are concerned, it’s important to seek guidance form a
licensed speech language pathologist and see what’s really going
on.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much for those answers.

Tanya: Sure.

Robyn: And thank you to our viewers and remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me

Speech & Language Development in Twins

Twin BabiesAccording to the 2006 National Vital Statistics Report, about 32 twins are born per 1,000 births in the United States. For expecting parents, the prospect of twins can be incredibly exciting. But it can also be just as overwhelming, with double the responsibility and half the time. Raising twins differs from raising singletons in several ways, requiring parents to carefully plan and prepare. Knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety and empower parents to handle their new role with double the confidence.

Are twins more likely to be delayed in Speech?

Studies have documented that twins are more likely to demonstrate delays in speech and language skills, with males typically showing a six-month greater lag than females (Lewis & Thompson, 1992). However, studies have also documented that twins typically catch up in their speech and language development by three to four years of age (Lewis & Thompson, 1992). Language delays are typically characterized by immature verbal skills, shorter utterance lengths, and less overall verbal attempts.

There are several possible causes for speech and language delays in twins, including unique perinatal and environmental factors. For example, premature birth and low birth weight are more common among twins than singletons (Bowen, 1999). Additionally, twins may receive less one-to-one interaction time with their caregiver, as both infants are competing for time and care.

Although it is more common for twins to be delayed in language development, there is danger in assuming that they will catch up down the road. Twins who have true speech-language disorders may not catch up, and will benefit greatly from direct intervention. If you are concerned about your twins’ speech-language development, it is best to seek guidance from a licensed speech-language pathologist.

Do twins have their own language?

“Twin language”, often called idioglossia or autonomous language, is a well documented phenomenon among twins. One study found twin language to occur in 40 percent of twin pairs (Lewis & Thompson, 1992). Read more