Communication and socialization skills at ages 2 and 3 in "late-talking" young children

J Speech Hear Res. 1991 Aug;34(4):858-65. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3404.858.


Twenty-one apparently normal children between 18 and 34 months of age with slow expressive language acquisition were compared to a group of normally speaking children matched for age, SES, and sex ratio, on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Sparrow, Balla, & Cicchetti, 1984). The late talkers (LTs) scored significantly lower not only in expressive communication, but also in receptive communication and socialization. A follow-up study of the same subjects, seen at age 3, showed nearly half the 3-year-olds with a history of LT remained delayed in expressive communication and socialization, while one third remained behind in receptive language. The data suggest that social skills are particularly vulnerable to disruption in children with late expressive language development, even after communication skills have moved into the normal range. They suggest, further, that receptive deficits do not seem, in themselves, to increase the risk of continued language delay. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Language
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Development Disorders / psychology*
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Socialization*