For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Language Development of Twins

My girls are behind. I know they are because at 19 months old Ziva pretty much only has 1 word (bye bye) and Anya has maybe 3 (bye bye, ba ba, and no). Neither says Mama or Dada.

So today I called Early Intervention and made an appointment. The soonest we could get in was March 10th. My guess is that by then they will have made significant progress and I'll end up calling and canceling. That's pretty much what happened a few months ago when I called because they hadn't started walking yet. Murphey's Law: As soon as you make an appointment for a problem, said problem resolves itself.

Anyway, I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'm reading the book Raising Twins. And since there are a few twin mommies who follow my blog I thought I'd share a couple paragraphs about why twin language development is different from singletons. It's pretty interesting stuff!

"When a baby is born, its parents' initial communication is made up of smiles, cuddling, gestures of affection and cooing at their newborn. Parents also seem to intuitively imitate their baby's vocal sounds. There have been studies that indicate that the children of parents who used a lot of "baby talk" were faster to acquire expressive language skills. These parents may also have been particularly physically affectionate with their infants, so it is not really possible to pinpoint the reason their children were ahead of the language curve. Yet knowing as we do the overall importance of early one-on-one communication between parents and young children, environmental factors give us important clues about language development in twins. Twins usually engage in three-way (triadic) conversations instead of two-way conversations. They have less language directed toward them and less opportunity to participate verbally. The more available the mother and father are to the child, the stronger the symbiotic communication between them. Parents of newborn twins typically do not have the luxury of extended periods of one-on-one time with each baby. This may account, in part, for some of the delays in twins' language acquisition that sometimes occur.

Multiple births are at a higher risk of prematurity than singletons, and researchers have long associated low birth weight (typical of premature infants) and other complications of prematurity with developmental delay. A 1986 study compared low birth weight twins with low birth weight singletons (less than 1,500 grams) ranging from one month to four years of age. They found there were intermittent differences in hearing and speech at some ages but not at others. They also found that there were no significant language differences after the age of two and that by four years, twins measured ahead of non-twins on several measurements."

So hopefully, in a couple years time they will even out with their peers and there will be no noticeable delays. But until then, it's getting kind of frustrating. I'd really like to be able to communicate with them in a more significant way than what we're doing now.

Anya babbles non-stop, but really doesn't say many real words. She does ask for things that she wants, but usually it's by pointing or going over to the thing that she wants me to get for her. She does LOVE books though, which is encouraging. She loves to look at the pictures, and often vocalizes what she sees in her own incoherent "language". She "reads". But if I try to sit down with her she quickly gets upset, she'd much rather be on her own to "read" than have me read with or to her. Anya is more social, she makes better eye contact, and is very jolly and giggly. She loves to be tickled and roughhoused with.

Ziva is a much quieter child, and doesn't verbalize much at all, but she pays attention to EVERYTHING. She says bye bye, and has said night-night once. But I think she understands a lot more than Anya does. She obeys commands, she likes to play little games and picks up on new ones very quickly. She stacks blocks, and arranges her food. And since they have several matching or similar toys she will often get one, and then find the other that corresponds. So I know she's smart. She has 2 signs, "more" and "bye bye", and she uses them at the appropriate times and pretty much signs "more" any time she wants anything. She is very very very busy, and so far has done everything at least 1 month ahead of Anya.

I feel kind of lost. I have no idea what I should be doing to help them. I'm sure there's some totally obvious things I could do that would help them along, but I have no idea what those things would be. I'm sure they should watch less TV and do more activities, but again, I have no idea what those activities should be. I often feel like I'm failing them, and that makes me very sad. I really wish that appointment with EI could be sooner because I feel like I really need help NOW, not 2 months from now.

So if any of you mom's out there know of some good online resources or something I'm ALL ears! :)


Christa said...

Well, I don't have twins so I don't know of any sources, but I'm a twin myself and I know I was late in almost everything. I like to think I caught up though!

MommyAmy said...

Ha ha! I didn't know you were a twin. I'll keep that in mind in case I have questions for ya. :)

Tabitha (From Single to Married) said...

that's got to be frustrating! I wish I had some resources for you but I don't. Just wanted to say that I sympathize for you.

Stacy said...

I don't have any resources but I can offer encouragement. Lindsay is not a twin and was full term. She talked later than "normal". She was 2 1/2 before she really started talking and caught up with her peers. Our ped at the time said it wasn't a problem since she was right on with her other milestones and had good receptive language (I think that's the right term), she seemed to understand just about everything we told her. She could point to things she wanted. It was attributed to her personality. She took after me in that she was quiet and studied things. Now, she's more like Harold, more outging. With Lathen and Leann, they are opposites. Lathen is taking after Lindsay. He doesn't have a big vocab but seems to understand what we tell him. Leann says sentences already and has so many words, I lost count. Just keep talking to them and naming things. Try not to worry (I know, easier said than done). I'm sure they are just fine.

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