Children With Differing Developmental Trajectories of Prelinguistic Communication Skills: Language and Working Memory at Age 5 Purpose In this article, the authors examine the developmental continuity from prelinguistic communication to kindergarten age in language and working memory capacity. Method Following work outlining 6 groups of children with different trajectories of early communication development (ECD; Määttä, Laakso, Tolvanen, Ahonen, & Aro, 2012), the authors examined their ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2014
Children With Differing Developmental Trajectories of Prelinguistic Communication Skills: Language and Working Memory at Age 5
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sira Määttä
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
    Niilo Mäki Institute, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Marja-Leena Laakso
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Asko Tolvanen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Timo Ahonen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Tuija Aro
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
    Niilo Mäki Institute, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Sira Määttä: sira.maatta@nmi.fi
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg
    Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2014
Children With Differing Developmental Trajectories of Prelinguistic Communication Skills: Language and Working Memory at Age 5
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1026-1039. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0012
History: Received January 11, 2013 , Revised May 21, 2013 , Accepted October 23, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1026-1039. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0012
History: Received January 11, 2013; Revised May 21, 2013; Accepted October 23, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose In this article, the authors examine the developmental continuity from prelinguistic communication to kindergarten age in language and working memory capacity.

Method Following work outlining 6 groups of children with different trajectories of early communication development (ECD; Määttä, Laakso, Tolvanen, Ahonen, & Aro, 2012), the authors examined their later development by psychometric assessment. Ninety-one children first assessed at ages 12–21 months completed a battery of language and working memory tests at age 5;3 (years;months).

Results Two of the ECD groups previously identified as being at risk for language difficulties continued to show weaker performance at follow-up. Seventy-nine percent of the children with compromised language skills at follow-up were identified on the basis of the ECD groups, but the number of false positives was high. The 2 at-risk groups also differed significantly from the typically developing groups in the measures tapping working memory capacity.

Conclusions In line with the dimensional view of language impairment, the accumulation of early delays predicted the amount of later difficulties; however, at the individual level, the prediction had rather low specificity. The results imply a strong link between language and working memory and call for further studies examining the early developmental interaction between language and memory.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported in part by grants from the Research Fund of the Mannerheim League of Child Welfare and from the Finnish National Doctoral Programme of Psychology.
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