A therapist from Florida has expressed her worries over facemasks being related to speech delays within young children. Her claims have been backed up by quite alarming statistics.
After noting a significant increase in the number of children having to suffer from speech impediments and other mask-related disorders, a speech therapist in Florida is raising concerns about the CDC’s emphasis on mask use.
According to ABC News affiliate WPBF, Jaclyn Theek, a clinic director and speech-language pathologist at the Speech and Learning Institute in North Palm Beach, stated she had seen a 364 percent uptick in the total count of referrals for children with speech delays in 2021, implying that mask-wearing may very well be fueling unprecedented harm to healthy childhood development.
“This has been a very challenging year,” Theek mentioned at the end of 2021, explaining that before the outbreak, just 5% of her appointments were infants and toddlers, a figure that has subsequently risen to 20%.
Although “there’s no research out there yet saying that this [mask wearing] could be causing speech and language delays,” Theek is “most definitely” persuaded that it is indeed a “factor,” since several parents allude to the situation as their kids being “COVID-delayed.”
“We are seeing a lot of things that look like autism. They’re not making any word attempts. And not communicating at all with their family,” explained Theek.
“It’s very important that kids do see your face to learn, so they’re watching your mouth,” added the pathologist.
Even though Theek is completely right that no peer-reviewed research has discovered a particular dilemma with speech disruptions triggered by pandemic initiatives like masking, a study out of Rhode Island in August 2021 uncovered that kids conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic have substantially reduced perceptual capacity than their pre-pandemic equivalents.
“Across all measures, we found cognitive scores were significantly reduced during the pandemic by 27 to 37 points (or almost two full standard deviations),” wrote the researchers.
“We did not find significant differences in birth weight or gestation duration overall in the pre vs during pandemic children,” they noted, implying that the issue is caused by environmental factors including masking and isolation rather than physical illness or starvation.
Parents have noted a distinction in their pandemic-born kids particularly in contrast to their elder children born prior to the so-called public health measures, in conjunction to reservations expressed by speech therapists as well as various medical specialists.
“It definitely makes a difference when the world you are growing up in, you can’t interact with people and their face.” While discussing how just her youngest child has encountered speech problems, Briana Gay, a parent of five, told the ABC affiliate, “That’s super important to babies.”
“We’d go out and walk around the neighborhood, and there would be no one there … everyone just stayed in,” said Gregg Santos, a parent who already has observed verbal difficulties in his infant son Diego and believes seclusion and masking are to be held responsible.
“It bothers me,” Santos said. “It bothers me a lot.”
Thus pertaining to experts, the most important factor parents could do to avert this matter in their very own children is to spend more time reading, talking, or singing to their kids at home, to compensate for the potential decline in disclosure to the human face while children are at school, daycare, or another situation where everyone is masked.
Parents should also be aware of significant landmarks in their children’s verbal growth, such as speaking five to ten words by the age of twelve months, 50 to one hundred words by the age of eighteen months, and hundreds of words by the age of two.