The study examined findings from the Victorian School Entry Health Questionnaire, a parent-survey of children’s health and wellbeing at school entry, according to three areas:
- Speech, language and communication
- Behavior and emotional wellbeing
- Family and community characteristics.
The results found 20 per cent of children began school with either language or mental health difficulties, with three per cent of those children experiencing both language and mental health difficulties.
The study found five factors which predicted whether children had more than one area of difficulty:
- the child having witnessed violence
- a history of parent mental illness
- living in more deprived communities
- the educational attainment of each parent (independently).
The study calls for further research to examine the early trajectories of those children demonstrating multiple needs when starting school.