Article  |   June 2010
Three Profiles of Language Abilities in Toddlers With an Expressive Vocabulary Delay: Variations on a Theme
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Chantal Desmarais
    Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • Audette Sylvestre
    Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • François Meyer
    Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • Isabelle Bairati
    Université Laval and Direction de la Santé Publique de Québec
  • Nancie Rouleau
    Université Laval
  • Contact author: Audette Sylvestre, Départment de Réadaptation, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry, Université Laval, 1050, Avenue de la Médecine, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada. E-mail: audette.sylvestre@rea.ulaval.ca.
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   June 2010
Three Profiles of Language Abilities in Toddlers With an Expressive Vocabulary Delay: Variations on a Theme
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 699-709. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0245)
History: Received November 9, 2007 , Revised June 18, 2008 , Accepted August 20, 2009
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 699-709. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0245)
History: Received November 9, 2007; Revised June 18, 2008; Accepted August 20, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose: The presence of an expressive vocabulary delay (EVD) in the context of otherwise harmonious development has been the main criterion used to define language delay in 2-year-olds. To better understand the communicative functioning of these children, other variables must be considered. In this study, the aim was to delineate and characterize clusters of 2-year-olds with EVD by measuring other language variables in these children.

Method: Language and related variables were measured in 68 francophone children with EVD.

Results: In a cluster analysis, 2 language variables—(a) language expression and engagement in communication and (b) language comprehension—yielded 3 clusters ranging from weak language ability to high scores on both variables. Further differences were found between these clusters with regard to 2 correlates of lexical acquisition—namely, size of the expressive vocabulary and cognitive development.

Conclusion: These results shed new light on the notion of heterogeneity in toddlers who present with an EVD by proposing subgroups among them. A follow-up investigation of these participants is ongoing.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported, in part, by Grant 6472 from Quebec’s Fund for Health Research (FRSQ) awarded to Audette Sylvestre, Francois Meyer, Isabelle Bairati, Nancie Rouleau, and Chantal Desmarais. We thank the parents and the participants in this study; the research coordinator, Lyne Champoux; the numerous research assistants; and the statistical consultants, Valérie Jomphe, Hélène Crépeau, and Olga Gordynska.
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