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.
Article Information
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: Received July 21, 2007 , Revised January 3, 2008 , Accepted May 27, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 16-30. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0171)
History: Received July 21, 2007; Revised January 3, 2008; Accepted May 27, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 42

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.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants from the Bryn Mawr College Faculty Research Fund, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant 1-R15-HD22355-01, and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01-DC00807. I wish to thank the parents and children whose participation made this research possible.
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