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September 2015, Volume 65, Issue 9

Letter to the Editor

Role of parents in communication development of their children

Madiha Sikander  ( University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. )
Nayab Iftikhar  ( Riphah College of Rehabilitation Science, Lahore, Riphah International University, Islamabad. )
Sumera Nawaz Malik  ( Riphah College of Rehabilitation Science, Lahore, Riphah International University, Islamabad. )

Madam, Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of ideas, feelings, intentions, attitudes, expectations, perceptions or commands, as verbal (communication) and non-verbal communication.1 Remember communication begins long before words are spoken!2
Parental communication has a dynamic role in development of every aspect in child\'s life. Outcomes suggest that communication with the unborn child by reading, singing and just even talking especially in the last trimester of pregnancy impacts the child\'s behaviour (e.g. communication) and development. Poor parent to child interaction affects the child (development in all aspects), although it can be repaired. Future of the child is influenced by his past, as parents, we must work hard in those magnificent first few years of learning to interact with one another with more than just words.3
In addition to positive parent-child interactions that affect children\'s language development, there are parent to child variables e.g. inadequate or infrequent communication that inhibit children\'s language development. If a positive contact is not built amongst parents and child, it may become a reason of delay in communication development.4 Delay was defined as having a vocabulary less than 50 words and/or producing limited word combinations at 24 months of age. It was found that children with delayed speech were less likely to respond to verbal interactions, especially with their mother.5 If children show normal communication development they are likely to become confident speakers and this provides a ground for a happy, fulfilling and successful life.6
For children whose parents were less involved in their interactions, heard far fewer words per hour (< 100 words spoken) than children whose parents were more involved in daily interactions (> 500 words spoken) heard more words per hour, these findings suggest that children who hear more words, questions, repetition, and elaboration, score higher on consecutive IQ measures,7 moreover, communication problems can induce not only psychiatric issues, but also can lead them to the group of under achievers (performing less on reading test, neurodevelopmental delay, family diversity and severe aberrant behaviour, particularly for hyperactivity and lethargy).8
For the children having delay in their speech and language development, Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is widely used by speech and language therapists to improve the interactions between children and their parents/care giver. Clinicians support this therapy effectiveness in communication development of children.9
Communication is a social right for everyone and this effort may bear fruits in the future.


1. Communication skill. Weebly. [online] [cited 2015 May 20]. Available from: URL:
2. Information for parents. [online] 2010 [cited 2015 Jan 17]. Available from: URL: PublicInformation/Childhood%20Speech%20and%20Language/communication_development_factsheet_July_20101.pdf.
3. Lewis A. every parent-chils interaction shapes the brain. [online] 2009 [cited 2015 May 21]. Available from: URL:
4. Hart B, Risley TR. Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H Brookes Publishing; 1995.
5. Andersen CE, Marinac JV. Using an observational framework to investigate adult language input to young children in a naturalistic environment. Child Language Teaching Therapy 2007; 23: 307-24.
6. Beitchman J, Brownlie E. Language development and its impact on children\'s psychosocial and emotional development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development 2005: 1-7.
7. Scott MA. Assessing the effects of parent-child interactions on child communication skills. [Thesis] Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 11142.
8. Sigafoos J. Communication development and aberrant behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 2000; 35: 168-76.
9. Falkus G, Tilley C, Thomas C, Hockey H, Kennedy A, Arnold T, et al. Assessing the effectiveness of parent-child interaction therapy with language delayed children: A clinical investigation. Child Lang Teach Ther 2015; 0265659015574918. doi: 10.1177/0265659015574918.

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