The Relationship Between Multiple Birth Children’s Early Phonological Skills and Later Literacy Previous studies have shown that multiple birth children (MBC) are prone to early phonological difficulties and later literacy problems. However, to date, there has been no systematic long-term follow-up of MBC with phonological difficulties in the preschool years to determine whether these difficulties predict later literacy problems. In this study, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 1998
The Relationship Between Multiple Birth Children’s Early Phonological Skills and Later Literacy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sandra McMahon
    University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
  • Kelly Stassi
    University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
  • Barbara Dodd
    University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
    Professor
  • Contact author: Professor B. J. Dodd, Department of Speech, King George VIth Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU.
    Contact author: Professor B. J. Dodd, Department of Speech, King George VIth Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: B.J.Dodd@newcastle.ac.uk
Article Information
Development / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 1998
The Relationship Between Multiple Birth Children’s Early Phonological Skills and Later Literacy
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1998, Vol. 29, 11-23. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2901.11
History: Received January 3, 1996 , Accepted February 24, 1997
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1998, Vol. 29, 11-23. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2901.11
History: Received January 3, 1996; Accepted February 24, 1997

Previous studies have shown that multiple birth children (MBC) are prone to early phonological difficulties and later literacy problems. However, to date, there has been no systematic long-term follow-up of MBC with phonological difficulties in the preschool years to determine whether these difficulties predict later literacy problems. In this study, 20 MBC whose early speech and language skills had been previously documented were compared to normative data and 20 singleton controls on tasks assessing phonological processing and literacy. The major findings indicated that MBC performed significantly more poorly on some tasks of phonological processing than singleton controls did. Further, the early phonological skills of MBC (i.e., the number of inappropriate phonological processes used) were correlated with poor performance on visual rhyme recognition, word repetition, and phoneme detection tasks 5 years later. There was no significant relationship between early biological factors (birth weight and gestation period) and performance on the phonological processing and literacy-related subtests. These results support the hypothesis that MBC’s early speech and language difficulties are not merely a transient phase of development, but a real disorder, with consequences for later academic achievement.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank the mothers, fathers, and children for their cooperation and enthusiasm, and we are grateful to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for financial assistance.
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