Late Talkers: A Population-Based Study of Risk Factors and School Readiness Consequences Purpose This study was designed to (a) identify sociodemographic, pregnancy and birth, family health, and parenting and child care risk factors for being a late talker at 24 months of age; (b) determine whether late talkers continue to have low vocabulary at 48 months; and (c) investigate whether being a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 2017
Late Talkers: A Population-Based Study of Risk Factors and School Readiness Consequences
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Teachers College, Columbia University, University Park, NY
  • Paul Morgan
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • George Farkas
    University of California, Irvine
  • Marianne Hillemeier
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Dana Bitetti
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Steve Maczuga
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • 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. ×
  • Dana Bitetti is now at La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA.
    Dana Bitetti is now at La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA.×
  • Correspondence to Carol Scheffner Hammer: carol.hammer@tc.columbia.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Carolyn Mervis
    Associate Editor: Carolyn Mervis×
Article Information
Special Populations / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 2017
Late Talkers: A Population-Based Study of Risk Factors and School Readiness Consequences
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2017, Vol. 60, 607-626. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0417
History: Received December 3, 2015 , Revised July 30, 2016 , Accepted August 8, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2017, Vol. 60, 607-626. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0417
History: Received December 3, 2015; Revised July 30, 2016; Accepted August 8, 2016
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This study was designed to (a) identify sociodemographic, pregnancy and birth, family health, and parenting and child care risk factors for being a late talker at 24 months of age; (b) determine whether late talkers continue to have low vocabulary at 48 months; and (c) investigate whether being a late talker plays a unique role in children's school readiness at 60 months.

Method We analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a population-based sample of 9,600 children. Data were gathered when the children were 9, 24, 48, and 60 months old.

Results The risk of being a late talker at 24 months was significantly associated with being a boy, lower socioeconomic status, being a nonsingleton, older maternal age at birth, moderately low birth weight, lower quality parenting, receipt of day care for less than 10 hr/week, and attention problems. Being a late talker increased children's risk of having low vocabulary at 48 months and low school readiness at 60 months. Family socioeconomic status had the largest and most profound effect on children's school readiness.

Conclusions Limited vocabulary knowledge at 24 and 48 months is uniquely predictive of later school readiness. Young children with low vocabularies require additional supports prior to school entry.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Institute of Education Sciences Grant R324A120046. Infrastructure support was also provided through the Pennsylvania State University Population Research Institute, which is funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant R24-HD041025. The authors thank Philip Dale, J. Bruce Tomblin, and Elizabeth Crais for their valuable input on the study and article.
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