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As clinicians, we now have a good deal of information about the degree of risk associated with early language delay. When parents ask us what is likely to happen to a late-talking 2-year-old by the time s/he gets to kindergarten, we are now able to provide a relatively reliable statement of the child’s chances for a good outcome, and a reassuring discussion of even the less favorable possibilities. We are now in a position to begin using the information provided by recent research to inform our deliberations about early intervention with the families and agencies we serve, and to guide us in advocating for sensible public policies with regard to these children. It is my hope that the position I have taken here will stimulate discussion that will contribute toward these ends.


Published: Paul, R. "Clinical Implications of the Natural History of Slow Expressive Language Development." American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 5 (1996): 5-30.

At the time of publication Rhea Paul was affiliated with Portland State University, Portland, OR.