The Stability of Primary Language Disorder Four Years After Kindergarten Diagnosis Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2003
The Stability of Primary Language Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. Bruce Tomblin
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Xuyang Zhang
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Paula Buckwalter
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Marlea O'Brien
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Contact author: J. Bruce Tomblin, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: j-tomblin@uiowa.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2003
The Stability of Primary Language Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1283-1296. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/100)
History: Received August 16, 2002 , Accepted March 24, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1283-1296. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/100)
History: Received August 16, 2002; Accepted March 24, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 64

The rates of change in the language status of children with language impairment unaccompanied by other developmental or sensory disorders (primary language disorder) were studied in a longitudinal sample of 196 children who were followed from kindergarten through 4th grade. Previous studies have shown that children with such language impairments have moderate rates of improvement during this age range. Also, those with the most specific deficits have the greatest likelihood of improvement. Cole and colleagues have hypothesized that such results could be due to the effect of regression to the mean (K. Cole, I. Schwartz, A. Notari, P. Dale, & P. Mills, 1995). This study used a baseline measure of language that was independent of the measure used for diagnosis in order to control for factors leading to regression to the mean. Patterns of change using the kindergarten diagnostic measure were compared to those using the baseline measure. Rates of diagnostic change between kindergarten and subsequent observation intervals showed patterns of change similar to those of past research. Comparisons using the baseline measure revealed no significant change in relative language status across the 4-year time period. The results showed that when the conditions for regression to the mean were controlled, the poor language of children with language impairments was very likely to persist during the primary school years.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Contract NIH-DC-19-90 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and by a clinical research center grant (P0-DC-02748), also from NIDCD. The conduct of this study was aided considerably by a valuable research team comprising Connie Ferguson, Jodi Schwirtz, Amy Schminke, and Marcia St. Clair.
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