Here is a fascinating new theoretical paper about the relationship between rhythm and language abilities. A theoretical study is one that brings together all the relevant current research and puts forward a theory of, in this case, how two concepts may be connected.
In the diagram below you will see the researchers have put forward the idea that children with development language disorders, dyslexia and stuttering exhibit atypical rhythm abilities. In terms of music learning, this could look like an inability to keep a beat, to copy a beat or to hear the difference between two different rhythms. The researchers are hypothesising that atypical rhythm skills may be an indicator of development language disorders, dyslexia or stuttering and that the contributing factors could be home environment, genetics and brain structures and functions.
The exciting thing about the research to flow on from this theoretical paper is that if we can gain a better understanding of rhythm abilities as an initial diagnostic or indication tool, we can identify children at risk of language difficulties earlier and provide them with learning support sooner.