Mask mandates implemented by the government amidst the COVID-19 appear to be causing speech delays in young children.
The regulations, which are still in effect in Democrat-led cities including Washington D.C. and New York City, have had adverse effects on the development of speaking abilities in children and babies.
“This has been a very challenging year,” emphasized Jaclyn Theek, a clinic director and speech-language pathologist at the Speech and Learning Institute in North Palm Beach, Florida.
The clinic experienced a 364 percent increase in patients who were babies and toddlers amidst the pandemic. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, only 5 percent of the clinic’s patients were in the age group, while today it stands at 20 percent.
“There’s no research out there yet saying that this could be causing speech and language delays. But, most definitely, I’m sure it’s a factor,” Theek said. “It’s very important that kids do see your face to learn, so they’re watching your mouth.”
Similarly, many parents interviewed by WPBF 25 News felt the irregular speech patterns were “COVID-delayed.” A parent interviewed by the outlet attributed the delays to “social isolation and everyone wearing masks”:
Gregg Santos brings his son, Diego, to speech therapy twice a week.
“He would just ramble, baby ramble,” Santos said. “Certain words that are key did not flow, so that began to raise a red flag.”
Santos said his son was born perfectly healthy at the start of a pandemic.
“We’d go out and walk around the neighborhood, and there would be no one there…everyone just stayed in,” Santos said.
Santos said he believes social isolation and everyone wearing masks lead to Diego’s speech delays.
“It bothers me,” Santos said. “It bothers me a lot.”
“It definitely makes a difference when the world you are growing up in, you can’t interact with people and their face. That’s super important to babies,” cautioned another parent.