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Let's Learn Language

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    Victoria has long waiting lists for speech therapy services for young children. Let's Learn Language targeted the 20% of toddlers with few or no spoken words at 18 months of age. It trialled a parent language promotion program, based on the Hanen programYou Make the DifferenceTM.

    Let's Learn Language aimed to:

    • reduce early language delay
    • reduce early behaviour problems (linked to language delay)
    • evaluate the costs and feasibility of this community-based program.

    The trial followed on from a successful pilot study in 2006. It took place in the three Melbourne local government areas of Banyule, Kingston and Frankston.


    Let's Learn Language had three stages:

    • In Stage 1 (May-November 2007), more than 1200 1-year old babies joined the study. Parents reported on how their baby communicated.
    • In Stage 2 (November 2007-May 2008), the babies turned 18 months old. Families reported on their children's words and behaviour. About 300 toddlers were saying few or no words at 18 months. These families were invited into Stage 3. 
    • In Stage 3 (February-August 2008), the 300 families were randomly divided into two groups: Intervention and Control. Intervention parents were offered a six-week language program, which focused on ways to encourage their toddler's language. Both groups continued to receive their usual care from their Maternal and Child Health Nurse. All 300 families were followed up at 2 and 3 years of age.

    Want to know more about the project?

    Want to know more about other early language projects at the Royal Children's Hospital?


    Language Survey
    Randomised Control Trial
    Date: Start: January 2007
    Finish: December 2009
    Funding: NHMRC Strategic Award
    Contacts/Staff involved:

    Sherryn Tobin
    Phone: 03 9345 5934

    Professor Melissa Wake


    Sheehan J, Girolametto L, Reilly S, Ukoumunne O, Price A, Gold L, Weitzman E, Wake M.  Feasibility of a language promotion program for toddlers at risk.  Early Childhood Services 2009; 3(1): 33-50 


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.