Young kids start school struggling to speak, here is why
UP TO half of our kids are starting school without the basic skills they need to communicate, and technology may be to blame.
A Warwick-based speech pathologist has revealed a number of children throughout the Southern Downs need help with language and literacy when they start school.
In an age where technology infiltrates children's lives, parents are missing out on the opportunity to speak to their kids.
But the problems they are facing as a result could have a lasting impact on their education.
Speech pathologist Seline Fallon said televisions and iPads were limiting opportunities for kids to engage in conversation.
"The main issue is that kids are coming to schools without adequate exposure to language,” Ms Fallon said.
Ms Fallon works with primary school students in Warwick, Texas, Inglewood, Allora and other parts of the Southern Downs.
She said kids with lower language and speech proficiency experienced difficulties in the classroom.
"Some do really struggle with following directions or explaining themselves and asking questions,” she said.
"It can be hard for them to tell stories and interact with peers.”
Warwick mother Holly Lubben has seen the remarkable difference exposure to technology has had on her two children.
Her five-year-old son Felix, 5, had very limited screen-time as a child and is a great speaker according to his mum.
But Holly's second child Heidi, 2, has had more exposure to screens.
"I can definitely see the difference in her not speaking as much because she is sitting down in front of screens at a younger age,” Mrs Lubben said.
Stressed and busy - as most parents are - Mrs Lubben said technology crept in to entertain her kids.
"For working parents it is really hard and you do just opt to give them an iPad for an hour to get them off your case,” she said.
"At first we were very strict, but I do think parents in general are getting a bit slack,” Mrs Lubben said.
Mrs Lubben and her husband Ben read at least two books to their kids every night.
She said it was common for families to eat dinner in front of the television.
"We always sit together at the table for dinner and that is a big conversation time for us as a family,” she said.
But a spokesman from the Department of Education said sstudents in the early years of school present with a broad range of speech language and communication needs.
"Typically these include difficulties with producing sounds accurately, difficulties understanding spoken or written language ... and developing early literacy skills such as sound awareness skills,” he said.
The spokesman said the number of speech pathologists employed in education roles in the Southern Downs had increased in the past five years.
Ms Fallon said parents could prepare their kids for school by having conversations and reading books to them regularly.