Epidemiological and Offspring Analyses of Developmental Speech Disorders Using Data From the Colorado Adoption Project Although the adoption design is the most powerful method to disentangle nature and nurture, it has not been applied previously to developmental speech or language disorders. The present study examined the speech outcomes of 156 adopted and nonadopted children at varying risk for speech disorders based upon self-reported parental speech ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1997
Epidemiological and Offspring Analyses of Developmental Speech Disorders Using Data From the Colorado Adoption Project
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Felsenfeld
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, 600 Forbes Avenue, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282
  • Robert Plomin
    Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre Institute of Psychiatry University of London United Kingdom
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: Felsenfeld@duq.edu
  • Currently affiliated with the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Currently affiliated with the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1997
Epidemiological and Offspring Analyses of Developmental Speech Disorders Using Data From the Colorado Adoption Project
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 778-791. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.778
History: Received May 20, 1996 , Accepted January 28, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 778-791. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.778
History: Received May 20, 1996; Accepted January 28, 1997

Although the adoption design is the most powerful method to disentangle nature and nurture, it has not been applied previously to developmental speech or language disorders. The present study examined the speech outcomes of 156 adopted and nonadopted children at varying risk for speech disorders based upon self-reported parental speech history. The sample consisted of four groups: a) 16 adopted children with an affected biological parent; (b) 19 adopted children with an affected adoptive parent; (c) 31 nonadopted children with an affected natural parent; and (d) 90 low-risk adopted and nonadopted children with no parental speech disorder history. Results revealed that 25% of the children with a genetic background of speech disorder displayed questionable speech, language, or fluency skills at age 7, in comparison to 9% of the children with no known genetic history. Logistic regression analyses indicated that positive biological parental background was the best predictor of offspring affected status. The child’s Full-Scale IQ and the HOME Scale of family environment were not significantly associated with speech outcome. These results provide additional evidence that genetic factors contribute importantly to the vertical transmission of some developmental speech disorders of unknown origin.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank John DeFries, Robin Corley, and Sally Ann Rhea from the Institute for Behavioral Genetics for their many helpful and insightful contributions to this project. Thanks are also extended to Ann Meckley and Kathleen Mulholland from the University of Pittsburgh for their excellent work. This project was supported by NICHD Grant HD-10333 awarded to the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and NIDCD Grant RO3-DC01620 awarded to the first author. Portions of this work were presented at the annual meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association held in Richmond, Virginia, in June 1995, and at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association held in Orlando, Florida, in December 1995.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access