Article  |   February 2009
Age 17 Language and Reading Outcomes in Late-Talking Toddlers: Support for a Dimensional Perspective on Language Delay
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Leslie Rescorla, Department of Psychology, Bryn Mawr College, 101 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. E-mail: lrescorl@brynmawr.edu.
Development / Special Populations / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   February 2009
Age 17 Language and Reading Outcomes in Late-Talking Toddlers: Support for a Dimensional Perspective on Language Delay
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2009, Vol.52, 16-30. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0171)
History: Accepted 27 May 2008 , Received 21 Jul 2007 , Revised 03 Jan 2008
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2009, Vol.52, 16-30. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0171)
History: Accepted 27 May 2008 , Received 21 Jul 2007 , Revised 03 Jan 2008

Purpose: This study examined whether late talkers identified at 24–31 months continued to have weaker language and reading skills at 17 years of age than typically developing peers.

Method: Language and reading outcomes at 17 years of age were examined in 26 children identified as late talkers with normal nonverbal ability and normal receptive language at intake and in 23 typically developing children matched at intake on age, socioeconomic status (SES), and nonverbal ability.

Results: Although late talkers performed in the average range on all language and reading tasks at 17 years of age, they obtained significantly lower Vocabulary/Grammar and Verbal Memory factor scores than SES-matched peers. The age 17 Vocabulary/Grammar factor had large correlations with the age 17 Verbal Memory and Reading/Writing factors. The age 17 Vocabulary/Grammar and Reading/Writing factors were strongly predicted by comparable factors at 13 years of age. Age 2 Language Development Survey (L. Rescorla, 1989) vocabulary score explained 17% of the variance in the age 17 Vocabulary/Grammar and Verbal Memory factors.

Conclusions: Results suggest that slow language development at 24–31 months is associated with a weakness in language-related skills into adolescence relative to skills manifested by typically developing peers—findings that are consistent with a dimensional perspective on language delay.

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