Study Says Twins Develop Verbal Skills Later than Single-Born Kids

October 31, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. delayed /dɪˈleɪd/ (adj.) – occurring later than the expected time or moment
Example: Lack of proper nutrition can cause delayed brain development.

2. twin /twɪn/ (n.) – either of two offspring developed and born during same pregnancy
Example: She was so tired after giving birth to twins.

3. lag behind /læɡ bɪˈhɑɪnd/ (phrasal v.) – to be slower or have lesser progress than another
Example: Some top students lag behind in their academic standing after getting sick.

4. scramble /ˈskræm·bəl/ (v.) – to mix something up in a disorderly way
Example: The difficult clues scrambled the participant’s thoughts.

5. make sense of /māk sens əv/ (idiom) – to find reasonable and logical explanation on something
Example: He tried to make sense of the abstract painting.


Read the text below.
A study proves that delayed language development among children is more likely to happen to twins than single-born children.

University of Western Australia (UWA) professor Cate Taylor and her co-researchers aimed to challenge the common belief that twins slightly lag behind in developing verbal skills compared to kids delivered by single birth.

In the beginning of the study, the researchers monitored 473 pairs of West Australian two-year-old twins after their birth. The participants included both identical and non-identical pairs.

According to Taylor, twins are twice likely to have late language emergence (LLE) which refers to kids’ failure to meet the expected verbal communication skills according to his or her age and gender.

Results of the study show that 71 percent of the twins scrambled their words and struggled on forming sentences while only 17 percent among the single-born kids had difficulties. In addition, researchers noticed that identical twins have higher chances to experience the LLE compared to non-identical pairs.

To make sense of the findings, Taylor cited some facts on pregnancy. She said twins generally undergo more birth complications than single-born kids. Meanwhile, identical twins have higher risks because they are formed from the same fertilized egg unlike non-identical twins who are formed from two different eggs.

Taylor plans further research on the topic that will focus on twins’ language development in their preschool and elementary years and on how fast twins’ verbal skills develop compared with single-born children.

The research, launched in 2002, is a collaborative project between the UWA, University of Kansas, Telethon Kids Institute, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of the study’s findings? Why or why not?
·         Aside from the reasons mentioned in the article, what do you think causes late speech development among twins?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the challenges that twins face? Kindly discuss.
·         Would you like to be a parent of twin children? Why or why not?

October 31, 2014