Specific Language Impairment: Preliminary Investigation of Factors Associated With Family History and With Patterns of Language Performance To examine patterns that might suggest etiologic subgroups of specific language impairment (SLI), information, including history of speech-language-learning (SLLD) problems in family members, was obtained on 53 children with SLI aged 4 to 9½ years. The results led to the generation of a number of hypotheses for future research. In ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1995
Specific Language Impairment: Preliminary Investigation of Factors Associated With Family History and With Patterns of Language Performance
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Margaret Lahey
    Emerson College Boston, MA
  • Jan Edwards
    Ohio State University Columbus
  • Contact author: Margaret Lahey, 1235 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633.
    Contact author: Margaret Lahey, 1235 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1995
Specific Language Impairment: Preliminary Investigation of Factors Associated With Family History and With Patterns of Language Performance
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 643-657. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.643
History: Received March 2, 1994 , Accepted December 6, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 643-657. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.643
History: Received March 2, 1994; Accepted December 6, 1994

To examine patterns that might suggest etiologic subgroups of specific language impairment (SLI), information, including history of speech-language-learning (SLLD) problems in family members, was obtained on 53 children with SLI aged 4 to 9½ years. The results led to the generation of a number of hypotheses for future research. In particular, the findings suggested that family history is related to pattern of language performance. In comparison with children who had both expressive and receptive language deficits, children with deficits in only expressive language had a higher proportion of affected family members (.47 vs. .22), of affected mothers (.57 vs. .17), and of affected siblings (.53 vs. .27). These and other findings are discussed in terms of their consistency with other data, hypotheses relative to explanations of SLI, and their implications for further research.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by NIDCD grant #DC00676 awarded to Margaret Lahey and Jan Edwards; by Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Grant #12–256 to Margaret Lahey by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; by PSC-CUNY grant #669476 to Jan Edwards; and by a grant from The Institutes of Communication Studies at Emerson College to Margaret Lahey. For their help with data collection and other aspects of the study, we thank Suzanne Boyce, Shari Diamond, Amy Ebersole, Sarita Eisenberg, Sarah Letsky, Gayle Rothman, and Bonnie Singer; for help with computer programs, we thank Philip Enny; and for thoughtful comments on an earlier version of this paper, we thank Rob Fox, Linda Milosky, and Bruce Tomblin. Finally, we thank the institutions that helped us locate the children, the parents who gave their consent and completed the questionnaires, and the children who participated in the study.
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