Familial Aggregation in Specific Language Impairment A case-control family study design, in which the current language-related abilities of all biological, primary relatives (mother, father, siblings) of probands with specific language impairment (SLI) and matched controls were assessed, was used to investigate familial aggregation for language disorders. Current test data from each family member showed the rate ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2001
Familial Aggregation in Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paula Tallal
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Linda S. Hirsch
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Teresa Realpe-Bonilla
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Steve Miller
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Linda M. Brzustowicz
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark/Piscataway and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark/Piscataway.
  • Christopher Bartlett
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Judy F. Flax
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark
  • Contact author: Paula Tallal, PhD, Co-Director, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 197 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102.
    Contact author: Paula Tallal, PhD, Co-Director, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 197 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: tallal@axon.rutgers.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2001
Familial Aggregation in Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1172-1182. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/091)
History: Received September 20, 2000 , Accepted May 14, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1172-1182. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/091)
History: Received September 20, 2000; Accepted May 14, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 49

A case-control family study design, in which the current language-related abilities of all biological, primary relatives (mother, father, siblings) of probands with specific language impairment (SLI) and matched controls were assessed, was used to investigate familial aggregation for language disorders. Current test data from each family member showed the rate of language impairment for mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers of the SLI probands to be significantly higher than for members of control families. Impairment rates for fathers and mothers were approximately equal, whereas rates for brothers were significantly higher than for sisters. In SLI proband families, Language Impairment (LI) occurred in 13.0% of offspring (excluding proband) with neither parent affected, 40% of offspring with one parent affected, and 71.4% of offspring in families in which both parents were language impaired. Rates of impairment as determined in current testing were compared directly to impairment rates estimated from family-history questionnaires collected from the same families. Group data showed impairment rates estimated from the family-history questionnaires to be similar to the rates based on actual testing. Furthermore, both appeared in line with rates based primarily on questionnaire data as reported previously in the literature. However, case-by-case analyses showed poor intrasubject agreement on classification as language impaired on the basis of current testing as compared to history information.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by NIDCD grant 5 RO1 DC 01854-08. We thank all the parents and children who volunteered their time to participate in this study. We express appreciation to the school administrators, teachers, and speech-language pathologists of Union, Clark, and Edison (New Jersey) school districts, as well as to Barbara Glazewski, EdD, and Cindy Roesler, MA, for help in subject ascertainment. A special thanks to the speech-language pathologists, research assistants, and psychologists (in particular Rebecca Reale) who helped with data collection and test scoring, as well as to Jason Nawyn for help in preparing presentations of these data for professional conferences.
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