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Language Development in Twins and Multiples

Twins and Multiple Birth Videos

Why are twins slower to speak?

Despite ongoing research into language development in twins and multiples no one has been able to pinpoint exactly why a child who is one of a twin or more is slower to develop speech than single children of the same age.

Two factors which are thought to play apart in slow speech development in twins and multiples are:

1. Parental attention – Parents of twins and multiples need to divide their attention among their children which means that they are physically unable to give each twin, triplet or quad the same one to one attention as parents who only have one child

2. Reinforced language errors – Twins, triplets and quads will babble to each other constantly; this reinforces their speech errors so it takes longer for them to learn the correct pronunciation to words

How do I encourage speech development in my twins?

Whatever the reasons for poor speech development in twins and multiples, it is important to take measures to encourage development and improve speech in your children as soon as possible.

The earlier you can take steps to improve speech development in your twins the better.

If you can, spend some time each day reading to each twin individually as this will encourage and improve their language skills. Also, use eye contact and give each twin an opportunity to respond to questions and breaks in conversation.

Try not to worry if your twins are slow to pick up speech. Do what you can to encourage speech development and remember that in most cases language problems in twins and multiples is short term. By the age of seven any language delay should have disappeared. If you are concerned about how your children are developing speak to your health visitor.


Dr Carol Cooper, GP

Author of Twins and Multiple Births

All information used in this article was sourced from:

Cooper, C., 2004. Twins and Multiple Births. 2nd ed. Chatham: Vermilion


10696 Reviewed November 2012 

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