Phonological Skills of Children With Specific Expressive Language Impairment (SLI-E) Outcome at Age 3 Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Phonological Skills of Children With Specific Expressive Language Impairment (SLI-E)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie Roberts
    University of Vermont Burlington
  • Leslie Rescorla
    Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Jennifer Giroux
    University of Vermont Burlington
  • Lisa Stevens
    Emerson College Boston, MA
  • Contact author: Julie Roberts, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences, Pomeroy Hall, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Email: jroberts@polyglot.uvm.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Phonological Skills of Children With Specific Expressive Language Impairment (SLI-E)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 374-384. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.374
History: Received August 12, 1996 , Accepted June 4, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 374-384. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.374
History: Received August 12, 1996; Accepted June 4, 1997

Naturalistic speech samples of 29 3-year-olds diagnosed with specific expressive language delay (SLI-E) were compared to those produced by 19 age-matched normally developing peers in order to determine their improvement in phonological skills since age 2, when Rescorla and Ratner (1996)  studied them. Specifically, the groups were compared with regard to vocalization rate, verbalizations, fully intelligible utterances, phonetic inventories, percentages of consonants correct (PCC), phonological processes, and mean length of utterance (MLU). Results revealed that there was no significant difference between the groups in their numbers of vocalizations (as there had been at age 2), although there continued to be differences in their phonetic inventories, PCC scores, and overall intelligibility. These findings suggest that at age 2 the children with SLI-E were not only less phonologically skilled but less talkative, whereas by age 3 they were equally vocal. Analysis of the phonetic inventories of the children demonstrated that for most consonants, the SLI-E group followed the same pattern of development as the comparison children, but more of the normally developing group had productive control of each consonant, consistent with findings of Rescorla and Ratner. There continued to be differences in intelligibility as measured by rates of verbalization (those utterances with at least one intelligible word) and fully intelligible utterances. Using these measures, we found that approximately half the SLI-E children had caught up with their normally developing peers in terms of articulation, whereas half of them continued to be significantly delayed. Finally, although some of the late-bloomer group had caught up to the comparison children in language skills, as measured by MLU, many had not, suggesting that there was a tendency for the children to catch up in some articulation skills before catching up in language abilities.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank Jennifer Rafsky, Sherry Allen, Mieka LeClair, Ashley Renick, and Cecelia McColgan for help with transcription and coding. This research was supported by grants to the second author from the Bryn Mawr Faculty Research Fund and from the National Institutes of Health (NICHD Area Grant 1-R15-HD22355-01; NIDCD R01-DC00807).
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