Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Risk Factors for Specific Language Impairment: A Prospective Pregnancy Cohort Study Purpose Although genetic factors are known to play a causal role in specific language impairment (SLI), environmental factors may also be important. This study examined whether there are prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal factors that are associated with childhood SLI. Method Participants were members of the Raine Study, a prospective ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2014
Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Risk Factors for Specific Language Impairment: A Prospective Pregnancy Cohort Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Andrew J. O. Whitehouse
    Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
  • W. M. R. Shelton
    Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
  • Caleb Ing
    Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
  • John P. Newnham
    School of Women's and Infants' Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
  • 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 Andrew J. O. Whitehouse: awhitehouse@ichr.uwa.edu.au
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg
    Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2014
Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Risk Factors for Specific Language Impairment: A Prospective Pregnancy Cohort Study
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1418-1427. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0186
History: Received July 15, 2013 , Revised October 8, 2013 , Accepted December 9, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1418-1427. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0186
History: Received July 15, 2013; Revised October 8, 2013; Accepted December 9, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose Although genetic factors are known to play a causal role in specific language impairment (SLI), environmental factors may also be important. This study examined whether there are prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal factors that are associated with childhood SLI.

Method Participants were members of the Raine Study, a prospective cohort investigation of pregnant women and their offspring. Parent report indicated that 26 children had received a clinical diagnosis of SLI. Data from antenatal and birth medical records were compared between the children with SLI and typically developing comparison children (N = 1,799).

Results There were no statistically significant differences between the SLI and comparison groups in the individual prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal factors examined. Aggregate risk scores were calculated for each period on the basis of factors known to be associated with neurodevelopmental disorder. There were no group differences in aggregate risk scores in the prenatal and perinatal periods. However, significantly more children in the SLI group (50%) compared with the comparison group (27.6%) experienced 2 or more risk factors during the neonatal period.

Conclusion The vast majority of prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal complications do not play a clear causal role in childhood SLI. However, poor neonatal health may signify increased risk for SLI.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for its long-term contribution to funding the study over the last 20 years. Core Management of the Raine Study has been funded by the University of Western Australia (UWA); Curtin University; the UWA Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences; the Raine Medical Research Foundation; the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research; and the Women and Infants Research Foundation. Andrew J. O. Whitehouse is funded by a Career Development Fellowship from the NHMRC (No. 1004065). This study was partly funded by NHMRC Project Grant No. 1003424. These funders had no further role in study design, analysis, data interpretation, or manuscript writing and submission. The authors are extremely grateful to all of the families who took part in this study and the whole Raine Study team, which includes the cohort manager, data manager, and data collection team.
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