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Birth cohort study indicates the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on early child language development
  1. Patrícia Alvarenga
  1. Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patrícia Alvarenga, Institute of Psychology, Federal University of Bahia, Rua Caetano Moura, 107, Salvador 40130200, Bahia, Brazil; palvarenga66{at}

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Commentary on: Byrne S, Sledge H, Franklin R, Boland F, Murray DM, Hourihane J; CORAL Study group. Social communication skill attainment in babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic: a birth cohort study. Arch Dis Child. 2023 Jan;108(1):20-24. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2021-323441. Epub 2022 Oct 11.

Implications for practice and research

  • Future research must explore contexts of crisis and disaster to investigate whether delays in acquiring the pointing gesture and the first meaningful words would result in cascading impairments in language development in early childhood.

  • During crises and disasters, caregivers must be encouraged to enhance verbal responsiveness following infants’ communicative and exploratory behaviours.


Several studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic have indicated deficits in different domains of infant development. This study by Byrne and colleagues compared early developmental milestones in two infant cohorts: babies born at the onset of …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.