Late talkers at 2: outcome at age 3

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1997 Jun;40(3):556-66. doi: 10.1044/jslhr.4003.556.


Age 3 follow-up data are presented for a sample of 34 toddlers diagnosed between the ages of 24 and 31 months with expressive type specific language impairment (SU-E). At age 3, the late talkers scored significantly lower on all language measures than 21 comparison peers matched at intake on age, SES, and nonverbal ability. When seen at follow-up, the former late talkers scored in the average range on the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT) and on the Reynell Expressive Language Scale, but more than 1.5 SDs below age expectations in MLU and on Scarborough's (1990a) IPSyn. The proportion of late talkers performing in the average range at follow-up varied markedly as a function of measure used (EOWPVT: 79%, Reynell: 58%, MLU: 35%, and IPSyn: 24%), indicating that the late talkers made more rapid progress in lexical development and in the use of language to define, explain, and describe than they did in the areas of syntactic and morphological development. The only significant predictor of age 3 outcome was intake expressive language level, with toddlers who had been more severely delayed in expressive language at intake relative to age level having the worst outcomes at age 3.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child Language
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Language Development*
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Speech
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Vocabulary