Being the parent of twins or multiples is both joyful and demanding. Parents of twins/multiples often ask- will my children be slower to talk than their peers?
Just like singletons, twins and multiples may have speech and language difficulties, although there are a few specific reasons why twins may have a delayed pattern of speech and language development.
These issues include weight at birth, prematurity, and also factors within the family such as the time parents have to spend with their twins/multiples individually.
Twins can show signs of delayed speech and language development such as fewer words, sentences and speech sounds than their peers.
This may affect one or both twins. Generally speaking, children speak their first words between one year and 18 months. A child is considered a “late talker” if he/she is not putting two words together by age two; with a vocabulary of about fifty words.
If you notice that twins/multiples have few words by the time they are 18 to 20 months, it is a good precaution to take your children to see a Speech and Language Therapist. The Speech and Language Therapist will assess your children’s speech and language development to see how easily they can understand language spoken to them and how they are communicating and interacting socially with words and with gestures. The Speech and Language Therapist will also advise you on how to encourage your children's speech, language and communication development and monitor their progress at regular intervals if appropriate. The following are some tips especially for parents of twins and multiples.
Listening and understanding is an important part of communicating. Make. a point sometimes to call each child's name and wait for them to look at you before you speak. Use an animated intonation pattern and use lots of gesture to add meaning to what you say.
Create opportunities to talk to one child at a time.
Just like any other child, twins may have temporary muffled hearing due to congestion of the middle ear. Contact your Public Health Nurse or Family doctor if you are concerned.