Prevalence of Speech Delay in 6-Year-Old Children and Comorbidity With Language Impairment We estimate the prevalence of speech delay (L. D. Shriberg, D. Austin, B. A. Lewis, J. L. McSweeny, & D. L. Wilson, 1997b) in the United States on the basis of findings from a demographically representative population subsample of 1,328 monolingual English-speaking 6-year-old children. All children's speech and language had ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 1999
Prevalence of Speech Delay in 6-Year-Old Children and Comorbidity With Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lawrence D. Shriberg
    University of Wisconsin Madison
  • J. Bruce Tomblin
    University of Iowa Iowa City
  • Jane L. McSweeny
    University of Wisconsin Madison
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 1999
Prevalence of Speech Delay in 6-Year-Old Children and Comorbidity With Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1999, Vol. 42, 1461-1481. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4206.1461
History: Received November 16, 1998 , Accepted May 4, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1999, Vol. 42, 1461-1481. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4206.1461
History: Received November 16, 1998; Accepted May 4, 1999

We estimate the prevalence of speech delay (L. D. Shriberg, D. Austin, B. A. Lewis, J. L. McSweeny, & D. L. Wilson, 1997b) in the United States on the basis of findings from a demographically representative population subsample of 1,328 monolingual English-speaking 6-year-old children. All children's speech and language had been previously assessed in the "Epidemiology of Specific Language Impairment" project (see J. B. Tomblin et al., 1997), which screened 7,218 children in stratified cluster samples within 3 population centers in the upper Midwest. To assess articulation, the Word Articulation subtest of the Test of Language Development-2: Primary (Newcomer & Hammill, 1988) was administered to each of the 1,328 children, and conversational speech samples were obtained for a subsample of 303 (23%) children. The 6 primary findings are as follows: (a) The prevalence of speech delay in 6-year-old children was 3.8%; (b) speech delay was approximately 1.5 times more prevalent in boys (4.5%) than girls (3.1%); (c) cross-tabulations by sex, residential strata, and racial/cultural backgrounds yielded prevalence rates for speech delay ranging from 0% to approximately 9%; (d) comorbidity of speech delay and language impairment was 1.3%, 0.51% with Specific Language Impairment (SLI); (e) approximately 11– 15% of children with persisting speech delay had SLI; and (f) approximately 5–8% of children with persisting SLI had speech delay. Discussion includes implications of findings for speech-language phenotyping in genetics studies.

Acknowledgments
We extend our sincere thanks to the following people at the Iowa and Wisconsin sites for their expertise at the many stages of this study. In Iowa, the EPISLI project was coordinated by Paula Buckwalter, Marlea O’Brien, Nancy Records, and Xuyang Zhang. Speech-language and all other participant data were obtained by Chris Anderson, Kathleen Bailey, Jean Beisler, Lisa Ehlert, Connie Ferguson, Diane Highnam, Joni Mack, Chris McLaughlin, Jacqueline Nesvik, Julie Ann Sellen, Shirley Tiemeyer, Vickie Vandike, and Cathy Wignall. In Wisconsin, the research team included Chad Allen, Diane Austin, Sheryl Hall, Heather Karlsson, Carmen Rasmussen, Rachel Reily, Dorothy Ross, Carol Widder, and David Wilson. Peter Flipsen Jr. and Steve Pittelko provided useful comments on the manuscript. Copies of relevant technical reports are available at the Phonology Project Web site (www.waisman.wisc.edu/phonology). This study was supported by the following grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders: NIH-DC-19-90, NIDCD DC02746, and NIDCD DC00496.
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