Since early January 2021, there has been an increase in speech, language and communication (SLC) developmental concerns recorded at health reviews for children aged 13-15 months, and 27-30 months compared to pre-pandemic levels, Public Health Scotland said on Thursday. Health researchers blamed lockdowns, and said it is "likely that the public health restrictions experienced by children in the critical early years have contributed to the increases in SLC developmental concerns that have been observed since early 2021".

Glenn Carter, head of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in Scotland, said the findings add to the "mounting evidence of the spoken language crisis we currently face in Scotland".

He said: "We recently shared our own findings that almost 90% of practitioners in early years settings are seeing a rise in the number of young children experiencing speech, language and communication difficulties since the start of the pandemic. We are now seeing this claim backed up by Public Health Scotland's health visitor data, with the largest increase in concerns recorded at two years old - a crucial milestone in speech and language development."

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