According to The Washington Post, a recent study found that teachers are more likely to develop speech and language disorders than people in other professions. SLDs in adults, the article explains, “affect patients’ ability to communicate through speaking or writing, rendering them unable to come up with words, produce sentences with correct grammar or articulate properly.” These neurological conditions become worse progressively and typically lead to death within seven to 10 years of onset.
The study, published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, compared the rate of Alzheimer’s diagnoses, which was chosen as a control, to the rate of SLD diagnoses. “The study found that the odds of being a teacher with SLD were 3.4 times higher than being a teacher with Alzheimer’s dementia,” states the Post. Within other occupations, the study found “no statistical difference” in the rate of diagnosis of these two diseases.
This does not necessarily mean teachers are more prone to SLDs, Keith Josephs, the lead author from the report, explained to the newspaper. In fact, teachers could just be more likely to notice a language deficit. “The fact that teachers are using language daily and continuously may make them more sensitive to when they start to lose it,” Josephs said.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.