Speech and Language in 5-year-olds with Different Neurological Disabilities and the Association between Early and Later Consonant Production

Dev Neurorehabil. 2021 Aug;24(6):408-417. doi: 10.1080/17518423.2021.1899327. Epub 2021 Apr 13.


The primary aim was to describe speech and language abilities in a clinical group of verbal 5-year-old children diagnosed with neurological disability (ND) in infancy, and the secondary aim was to trace precursors to consonant production at age 5 years (T2) in data from 12 to 22 months (T1). The participants (n = 11, with Down syndrome (DS), cerebral palsy, and chromosomal deletion syndromes) were tested with a battery of speech and language tests. Consonant production at T2 was compared to data on consonant use at T1. At T2, two participants had age appropriate speech and language and another three had age-appropriate speech, but low results on language tests. The remaining six participants had severe speech and language difficulties. Participants with DS had significantly lower results on consonant production measures. An association between consonant production at T1 and T2 for participants with DS indicates that number of different true consonants might be a predictive measure when evaluating young children with DS.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Down syndrome; babbling; consonants; intellectual disability; longitudinal.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosome Disorders / psychology*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Speech*