A third of the children suffer from language problems

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Every third preschool child has a language development disorder

More than a million children under the age of 14 have difficulty developing their language. Preschool children are particularly affected. The diagnosis of language development disorder is increasingly being made in this age group. Those affected receive help from speech therapists.

A third of preschool children suffer from language problems. This is evident from the figures in the doctor's report published today by the largest German health insurance company, Barmer GEK. As the news agency "dpa" reports, the report also shows clear gender-specific differences in speech disorders among adolescents. Accordingly, boys are affected much more often than girls.

More than a million children with language problems According to the Barmer GEK medical report presented in Berlin on Tuesday, around 38 percent of boys aged up to six years and 30 percent of girls up to the age of six have speech problems that require treatment. According to this, around one in three preschool children suffers from difficulties in language development. About 20 percent of all five-year-old boys actually received a speech therapy prescription for the treatment of their speech disorders, with girls the proportion was 14 percent. Overall, the national average of children with speech and language disorders was 10.3 percent according to the Barmer GEK medical report, which corresponds to an absolute number of 1.12 million children (aged between 0 and 14 years).

Language development disorders no cause for concern According to the Vice President of the Barmer-GEK, Rolf-Ulrich Schlenker, the numbers are not a cause for concern, because "we see that professional language support is being used." However, the increase in diagnoses of a language development disorder is striking indeed. The same applies, for example, to the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here the trend from previous years has continued in the current doctor report. The diagnosis of ADHD also affects boys in particular. Overall, according to the figures from the Barmer GEK, 9.6 percent of nine-year-old boys are being treated by a neurologist or psychiatrist, in 60 percent of cases the diagnosis is ADHD. In the case of girls of the same age, only six percent are receiving appropriate treatment, with an ADHD diagnosis being the cause in 40 percent of the cases. In addition to these diseases, which until a few decades ago were rather rare, such as language development disorders or AHDS, according to the current medical report, classic childhood diseases such as chickenpox, scarlet fever or rubella are still relatively well represented.

Decline in outpatient treatment However, the doctor's report also contains more encouraging figures. For example, the number of outpatient treatment cases per insured person declined slightly for the first time since 2004, adjusted for age. In 2010, for example, it fell to 7.93 per insured person from 8.04 in the previous year. The treatment rate (people with at least one medical treatment per year) remained almost unchanged at 91 percent compared to the last doctor's report, which is also a sign of the “excellent outpatient care” in Germany for the Vice President of the Barmer GEK. (fp)

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Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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