New Poll: Childhood Language Delays Go Unrecognized By Parents

    Unique Tool From Hanen Centre Offers Simple Solution

    TORONTO, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - According to a new poll released by The Hanen
Centre, an international leader in early language development, 64 per cent of
Canadians fail to recognize the prevalence of speech and language delays in
children. This misguided perception results in children who are unprepared to
enter school.
    Research conducted in Canada shows that one in 12 children under five
experience a delay in language development. But Hanen's new poll, conducted by
national research firm Angus Reid Strategies, reveals that, when it comes to
language development, parents have a "not my child" mentality. In fact, a
whopping 94 per cent of Canadian parents of children under age 5 rated their
child's language skills average or above - a clear demonstration that parents
are not recognizing the potential that their child may have a language delay,
let alone addressing it. This means that many children may be starting school
without the fundamental language and early literacy skills that ensure
academic success.
    "The good news is there are many easy, yet effective, solutions for
parents," says Elaine Weitzman, Executive Director of The Hanen Centre and a
professor at the University of Toronto. Weitzman says the first step is
prevention. "Helping your child develop the best possible language and
literacy skills is the key to success. The better a child's language skills
and the larger her/his vocabulary, the more success she/he will experience in
learning to read and write."
    According to The Hanen Centre, children should be able to say at least 20
words consistently by 18 months, use 150 words and short phrases by two years,
speak in sentences by three years, and have proper conversations and tell a
story by five years.
    For parents who want to play a role in their child's language and
literacy development, The Hanen Centre has a number of resources, tools and
tips that can be incorporated into everyday interactions. "Children learn to
talk - not by being taught - but by being involved in enjoyable, extended
interactions with their parents and caregivers," says Weitzman. "In other
words, they learn to communicate by communicating."
    For parents of preschoolers who want to help their children be ready for
school, some of the Hanen Centre's tips include: follow the child's lead in
conversation and keep conversations going as long as possible; create an
environment full of meaningful print and use it (in addition to reading books
together, make grocery lists, write birthday cards and read advertising
flyers); use unfamiliar vocabulary in everyday conversation, explaining what
the words mean.
    The Hanen Centre has made it easy for parents to incorporate these - and
many other - tips into their daily activities and play routines by creating
the Preschool Language and Literacy Calendar.
    This hands-on calendar equips parents with tools to ensure their kids are
prepared to enter school for the first time. The tips, which are easy and fun
to follow, are based on the most up-to-date research on how to foster the
language and early literacy skills children need before they start school. The
calendar includes a pull-out poster with a chart summarizing the critical
building blocks for language and literacy development in the preschool period.
Parents can purchase the 2009 calendar at

    About The Hanen Centre

    The non-profit Hanen Centre is a leading International authority in the
development of family-focused early language intervention programs and
learning resources for parents and professionals around the world. Their
mission is to provide the important people in a young child's life with the
knowledge and training they need to help the child develop the best possible
language, social and literacy skills.
    The Hanen Centre has trained over 20,000 speech-language
pathologists/therapists from over 50 countries worldwide in the areas of:
language delay, autism, ECE, literacy and general parenting. In addition to
professional training, The Hanen Centre develops research-based resources and
learning materials for speech pathologists, parents and teachers. Complete
results of the survey and other background information available at

For further information:

For further information: For calendar images, polling results and more
information, please contact: Laura Modesto, Veritas Communications, P: (416)
955-4579, C: (416) 571-0140,; Bill Walker, Veritas
Communications, P: (416) 482-2710, C: (416) 558-8766,

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