Twins talk half as much at two

June 4, 2014 by David Stacey, University of Western Australia
Credit: Peter Griffin/public domain

(Medical Xpress)—A world first study of language development in toddler twins confirms the widely held belief that twins start to talk later than single-born children.

The results from the LOOKING at Language study, based at The University of Western Australia affiliated Perth's Telethon Kids Institute, also showed that is more common in than their non-identical counterparts.

The results have been published online in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Principal Investigator UWA Professor Cate Taylor said the findings are based on a population-based sample of 473 sets of Western Australian who have been followed from birth.

"Overall, twins have double the rate of late language emergence than single-born children, 38% for twins compared to 19% for single-borns," Professor Taylor said.

"When we looked further at the twins, and split them into identical or non-identical twin pairs, we found the rate of language delay in identical twins was 47% compared to 31% in non-identical twins."

Late language emergence is when a child's language is below age and gender expectations, that is, they speak few words and do not join words together to form sentences. In this study, 71% of two-year-old twins were not combining words, compared to only 17% of single-born children.

Professor Taylor said the findings challenge existing views on why twins may have language delay.

"For years, researchers have been fascinated by language development in twins with the main theory that mothers speak less to twins due to the double demands of caring for two children of the same age," Professor Taylor said.

"This does not explain why language delay was more common in identical and non-identical twins. The explanation lies in factors other than growing up as two. Being two, affects twins in other ways. For example, twins in general are exposed to more pregnancy and birth complications than single-borns and identical twins more so than non-identical twins."

Professor Taylor said the differences seen between identical and non-identical twins could be attributed to pregnancy and birth factors. A study of pregnancy and birth risks for late talking in twins is currently underway.

"The answer to the question, "Do the twins catch-up?", is ahead of us. We are currently investigating the twin's in the preschool and school years," Professor Taylor said.

"It is vital to know if and when late-talking twins catch-up to their peers or whether twin-single-born differences persist through childhood and into adolescence."

Explore further: Identical twins share breast cancer, rare surgery

Related Stories

Identical twins share breast cancer, rare surgery

November 15, 2013
(AP)—Identical twins who both had breast cancer are recovering after rare reconstruction surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Fainting: All in the family?

August 6, 2012
Fainting has a strong genetic predisposition, according to new research published in the August 7, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Fainting, also called vasovagal ...

Are my twins identical?

February 29, 2012
Parents may be misinformed during prenatal scans on whether their twins are identical or non-identical, say UCL researchers in a new commentary piece published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Twin brains afflicted with Alzheimer's show similar patterns of neuropathologic changes

February 27, 2014
Despite widespread use of a single term, Alzheimer's disease is actually a diverse collection of diseases, symptoms and pathological changes. What's happening in the brain often varies widely from patient to patient, and ...

Rare Australian conjoined twins die

May 27, 2014
Australian conjoined twins Hope and Faith, who shared a body and skull but had separate brains and identical faces, have died almost three weeks after they were born in Sydney, medical officials said Tuesday.

Researchers find genetic link between number of children and grandchildren produced

January 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia has found a genetic link between the number of children people have and the number of children their offspring have. In their paper published ...

Recommended for you

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.