Language-Impaired Preschoolers A Follow-Up Into Adolescence Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Language-Impaired Preschoolers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan E. Stothard
    University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne England
  • Margaret J. Snowling
    University of York England
  • D. V. M. Bishop
    Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit Cambridge, England
  • Barry B. Chipchase
    University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne England
  • Carole A. Kaplan
    University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne England
  • Contact author: Professor Margaret Snowling, Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO1 5DD, UK. Email:
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Language-Impaired Preschoolers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 407-418. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.407
History: Received October 4, 1996 , Accepted August 4, 1997
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 407-418. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.407
History: Received October 4, 1996; Accepted August 4, 1997
Web of Science® Times Cited: 457

This paper reports a longitudinal follow-up of 71 adolescents with a preschool history of speech-language impairment, originally studied by Bishop and Edmundson (1987) . These children had been subdivided at 4 years into those with nonverbal IQ 2 SD below the mean (General Delay group), and those with normal nonverbal intelligence (SLI group). At age 5;6 the SLI group was subdivided into those whose language problems had resolved, and those with persistent SLI. The General Delay group was also followed up. At age 15–16 years, these children were compared with age-matched normal-language controls on a battery of tests of spoken language and literacy skills. Children whose language problems had resolved did not differ from controls on tests of vocabulary and language comprehension skills. However, they performed significantly less well on tests of phonological processing and literacy skill. Children who still had significant language difficulties at 5;6 had significant impairments in all aspects of spoken and written language functioning, as did children classified as having a general delay. These children fell further and further behind their peer group in vocabulary growth over time.

The research reported in this paper was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust (R436/02680/01). We would like to thank Blakelaw School, Marden High School, Walbottle High School, Whitburn Comprehensive School, Longbenton Community College, and all the children who took part in the study. We also thank Kate Nation and Ian Walker for their assistance.
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