Family Histories of Children With SLI Who Show Extended Optional Infinitives Previous family history studies have demonstrated that there are elevated rates of language and language-related impairments in families identified through probands with language impairments. This study examines family histories of children with specific language impairment (SLI) known to have particular grammatical limitations in a core feature of grammatical acquisition, a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Family Histories of Children With SLI Who Show Extended Optional Infinitives
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Karla R. Haney
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Kenneth Wexler
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge
  • Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, PhD, University of Kansas, 1082 Dole Center, Lawrence, KS 66045.
    Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, PhD, University of Kansas, 1082 Dole Center, Lawrence, KS 66045.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Family Histories of Children With SLI Who Show Extended Optional Infinitives
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 419-432. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.419
History: Received January 13, 1997 , Accepted August 15, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 419-432. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.419
History: Received January 13, 1997; Accepted August 15, 1997

Previous family history studies have demonstrated that there are elevated rates of language and language-related impairments in families identified through probands with language impairments. This study examines family histories of children with specific language impairment (SLI) known to have particular grammatical limitations in a core feature of grammatical acquisition, a stage known as Extended Optional Infinitives (EOI). Family affectedness rates are reported for 31 families identified through preschool probands with this clearly defined language impairment and 67 control families, identified through nonaffected preschool children developmentally similar to the probands.

It was found that significantly more speech and language difficulties, as well as language-related difficulties, such as reading, were reported for proband families than control families. The elevated rates were obtained for nuclear family members and extended family members as well. Fathers of probands were more often reported as having difficulties (29% for speech/language impairments) than were mothers of probands (7%), but there was no difference between brothers (26%) and sisters (29%). No differences were evident between proband families based on proband gender. The findings are relevant for theoretical models of sources of unexplained variations in grammatical competence in young children. In addition, the findings contribute new information about expected rates of affectedness, means of identification of affected family members, and comorbidity of symptomatology.

Acknowledgments
Parts of this paper were reported in a master’s thesis carried out by the second author at the University of Kansas under the direction of the first author, and in a paper presented at the 21st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, November 1996. Data collection was supported by NIDCD Award R01 DC01803 to Rice and Wexler, and NIDCD Award R01 NS26129 to Rice. We express appreciation to the members of the lab team who contributed in various ways to data collection and data analysis: Alice Miner, Mary Howe, Carol Schekall, Esther Lerner, Hiromi Morikawa, Sean Redmond, Pat Cleave, and Melanie Schuele. We also wish to acknowledge our deep gratitude to the parents of the children who participated, for providing permission for participation and for contributing the information about the families, and to the day care centers, preschools, and school districts who cooperated with our research endeavors.
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