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To examine language outcomes related to language acquisition and academic readiness, this study followed a group of toddlers with slow expressive language development (SELD) through their kindergarten year. Subjects were 27 children between 20 and 34 months who produced fewer than 50 words or no 2-word combinations on L. Resconla's (1989) Language Development Survey. This group was matched with a control group of 25 children with expressive vocabularies larger than 50 words. All subjects were given an intensive battery of assessments for receptive language, cognitive development, oral motor function, and adaptive behavior. A videotaped free play interaction between parent and child was analyzed for maternal linguistic input, child communicative behavior, and child phonological characteristics. Subjects received follow-up assessments during their kindergarten year. A conversational speech sample was analyzed for mean length of morpheme utterance, and a narrative sample was collected using a wordless picture book. Findings suggested that children with SELD as toddlers: (1) performed on par with children who exhibited normal patterns of language acquisition, in terms of general and nonverbal intelligence, daily living and motor skills, and receptive language; and (2) demonstrated deficits in phonological awareness and narrative ability, two areas related to language acquisition.


Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (60th, NewOrleans, LA, March 25-28, 1993).


American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology





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