Introduction: Anecdotal reports suggest that infants experiencing early feeding difficulties may have delays in communication development.

Methods: The first stage of the study involved the development of a theoretically based assessment protocol to test the hypothesis of linked or independent processes required for feeding and speech. The assessment protocol will be piloted on 10 full term and 10 preterm infants at birth, 4, 8 and 12 months post term age. Measures of inter-judge and intra-judge reliability will also be taken of the observation protocol. Observation of the infant's language, speech, environment and maternal relationship will also be conducted to determine the nature and impact of environmental and social factors on feeding and/or speech and language development.

Results: To be analysed.

Conclusion: It is hypothesised that infants experiencing early feeding difficulties and delay will also experience later speech and language delay.

Massey, S. J., Hird, K. M., & Simmer, K. (2004). Relationship between early feeding and communication development in infants: Birth to 12 months. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 39(2), 227-228.

ISSN: 0277-2116

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