Dr. Le-Bucklin’s Answer:
As a collective group, multiples are more likely to be slightly behind in development compared to singletons. The most common reason for this is that multiples are more likely to be born premature.
If you remove the effects of prematurity, speech and language delay is more common in twins than in singletons. However, studies show that the more adult speech a child is exposed to, especially in the first three years of life, the greater their language and academic potential. Therefore, parents can have a positive influence on their twins’ language development by talking, singing, and reading to their twins as much as possible.
While parents can assist with maximizing their twins’ language development as described above, it’s also important to know that sometimes, twins may need more intensive intervention by a speech and language therapist. Parents should never feel that they have somehow failed their children if a child is diagnosed with a delay. A speech and language therapist can assist by providing direct therapy as well as offering parents and caregivers ideas for enriching the language environment at school and at home.
Note: I was recently interviewed by Lani, the mother of triplets and co-founder of the Multiples and More Blog Network. This question was from our interview.
Photo credit: Vladimir Pustovit