Developmental Trajectories of Early Communication Skills PurposeThis study focused on developmental trajectories of prelinguistic communication skills and their connections to later parent-reported language difficulties.MethodThe participants represent a subset of a community-based sample of 508 children. Data include parent reports of prelinguistic communication skills at 12, 15, 18, and 21 months and language difficulties at age 4;7 ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2012
Developmental Trajectories of Early Communication Skills
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marja-Leena Laakso
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Asko Tolvanen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Timo Ahonen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Tuija Aro
    Niilo Mäki Institute, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Correspondence to Sira Määttä: sira.maatta@nmi.fi
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   August 01, 2012
Developmental Trajectories of Early Communication Skills
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2012, Vol. 55, 1083-1096. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0305)
History: Received November 2, 2010 , Revised April 1, 2011 , Accepted December 9, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2012, Vol. 55, 1083-1096. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0305)
History: Received November 2, 2010; Revised April 1, 2011; Accepted December 9, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 11

PurposeThis study focused on developmental trajectories of prelinguistic communication skills and their connections to later parent-reported language difficulties.

MethodThe participants represent a subset of a community-based sample of 508 children. Data include parent reports of prelinguistic communication skills at 12, 15, 18, and 21 months and language difficulties at age 4;7 (years;months). The authors used latent profile analysis to identify groups of children with differing developmental trajectories of prelinguistic communication skills (n = 271). The relations among these groups and follow-up data of parent-reported concerns of language development (n = 187), as well as the role of gender, were examined.

ResultsSix meaningful prelinguistic communication groups were identified with the latent profile analysis, and these groups showed connections to later parent-reported concerns of language difficulties. Delayed early expressive language and a minor delay of overall performance, together with symbolic difficulties, appeared as predictors of later language difficulties. Nearly 80% of the children whose parents reported language-related concerns at the follow-up stage could already be identified before their 2nd birthday.

ConclusionThe results support the potential of early screening in identifying children at risk of developing language difficulties, particularly when screening includes repeated surveillance of more than one area of communication skills.

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