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Patterns of Development in Late Talkers: Preschool Years
Journal of Childhool Communication Disorders
  • Rhea Paul, Sacred Heart University
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A group of children was identified as “late talkers” (LT) on the basis of small expressive vocabulary size at 20–34 months of age and matched to a group of normally speaking age-mates. The subjects were followed yearly throughout the preschool period in order to track growth in language and related skills. Results showed that although significant improvement in speech and language skill occurred during the preschool period in the late talkers, a substantial minority of children retained deficits throughout the preschool years. By kindergarten age, these children, as a group, scored within, but at the low end of the normal range in terms of reading readiness. Data suggest that the longer a language delay persists into the third year of life, the less the chance of spontaneous recovery during the preschool period. Late talking girls seem to have less chance for spontaneous recovery than do late talking boys. The implications of these findings for making early intervention decisions will be discussed.


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

Citation Information

Paul, R. (1993). Patterns of development in late talkers: Preschool years. Journal of Childhool Communication Disorders, 15(1), 7-14.