According to today’s BBC News, “Nearly one in six children – and almost one quarter of boys – have difficulty learning to talk, research suggests.”

This result from the YouGov online survey of 1,015 parents seems to be quite surprising. The high proportion of boys having difficulty learning to talk especially caught my attention. The survey also suggests that “Six out of 10 people questioned for said the ability to talk, listen and understand was the most important skill for children to develop in the early years” followed by “the ability to interact with others (26%), reading skills (11%), numeracy skills (2%) and writing skills (1%). ”

The survey also suggests that the common age for children to say their first word was between 10 and 11 months. While 34% of girls and 27% of boys said their first word before they reached nine months, 4% of children had not spoken their first word by three.

According to the survey, the most spoken first words are

Dada – 15%
Daddy – 13%
Mama – 10%
Dad – 10%
Mummy 8%
Mum – 7%
Cat 2%
No – 1%
Dog – 1%

The reason “Daddy” was more frequent than “Mama” is that “Da” sound is much easier for children to say than “Ma”.

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