Introduction: The impact of language development on academic and social skills is well known. For this reason, the ‘wait and see’ approach, which was used by some experts in the previous century, has recently lost its impact. Although many of the children with delayed language may catch up with their peers, some of them continue to have speech and language problems. Therefore, differential diagnosis and early intervention are very important for possible deviations in speech and language development. Preschool teachers can be the first to recognize the child with delayed language in their classrooms and guide the family. Also, mothers are thought to be the most appropriate person to catch the possible developmental deviations on children. It is stated that awareness of the delayed language is very important for the child to benefit from early intervention processes. In light of this, the purpose of this study is to compare the awareness and knowledge levels of mothers and preschool teachers living in Turkey about delayed language. Method: The participants were 408 preschool teachers and 1076 mothers from various cities in Turkey. A questionnaire of 29 questions was prepared by the researchers for data collection. The questionnaire assesses the knowledge level of the causes, prognosis, evaluation, and the intervention of delayed language and also activities that can be used for supporting the speech and language development. The questionnaires were delivered to the participants via the internet. Independent samples t-test and Pearson correlation were used to analyze the data. Results: The correct answers of preschool teachers to the questionnaire questions were found to be significantly higher than the correct answers of the mothers. However, in some items, the correct response rates of both groups were found to be low. “Learning two languages at the same time in young children will cause delayed speech’, ‘Therapy for the delayed language will mainly include oral motor exercises’ and ‘If there is no additional problem in the child who has delayed language than the child will always catch his/her peers’ items had the least correct response rate in both groups. Conclusion: It is recommended that arrangements be made in order to increase the awareness about delayed language for the public at large. Since teachers seem to be more knowledgable about delayed language, mothers appear to need special attention. Also, in light of the literature, suggestions were made for future research.
awareness, delayed language, developmental language disorder, early intervention, speech delay, speech and language therapy
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