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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2006 Dec;49(6):1224-37.

Prelinguistic predictors of language outcome at 3 years of age.

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Department of Communication Disorders, FIRST WORDS Project, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-7814, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive validity of a collection of prelinguistic skills measured longitudinally in the 2nd year of life to language outcome in the 3rd year in children with typical language development.


A collection of prelinguistic skills was assessed in 160 children early (M = 14.31 months; SD = 1.36) and late (M = 19.76 months; SD = 1.16) in their 2nd year by using the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Behavior Sample (A. Wetherby & B. Prizant, 2002). The relation between the prelinguistic skills and the receptive and expressive language near the 3rd birthday was examined.


Significant correlations were observed between many prelinguistic skills and language outcome. Regression analyses indicated that comprehension both early and late contributed unique variance to receptive and expressive language outcome. In addition, early in the 2nd year, inventory of conventional gestures contributed uniquely to receptive language outcome, and acts for joint attention contributed uniquely to expressive outcome. Late in the 2nd year, inventory of consonants contributed uniquely to expressive outcome.


The findings demonstrate continuity between prelinguistic and linguistic skills and how individual differences in a number of prelinguistic skills contribute collectively and uniquely to language outcome in typically developing children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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