A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Phonological Development in Late Talkers Purpose: This study involved prospective longitudinal data on 5 late talkers to provide information about the course of phonological development in order to identify possible predictors of delayed versus deviant development. Method: Five children (3 boys, 2 girls) were identified as late talkers and divided into a younger group and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2003
A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Phonological Development in Late Talkers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • A. Lynn Williams
    East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
  • Mary Elbert
    East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
  • Contact author: A. Lynn Williams, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, P.O. Box 70643, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 37614.
    Contact author: A. Lynn Williams, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, P.O. Box 70643, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 37614.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: williamL@mail.etsu.edu
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2003
A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Phonological Development in Late Talkers
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2003, Vol. 34, 138-153. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/012)
History: Received August 8, 2002 , Accepted January 29, 2003
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2003, Vol. 34, 138-153. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/012)
History: Received August 8, 2002; Accepted January 29, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 18

Purpose: This study involved prospective longitudinal data on 5 late talkers to provide information about the course of phonological development in order to identify possible predictors of delayed versus deviant development.

Method: Five children (3 boys, 2 girls) were identified as late talkers and divided into a younger group and an older group. Each child was followed monthly for 10 to 12 months (22–33 months for the younger group and 30–42 months for the older group). Two types of monthly language samples (free play and elicited) were obtained to describe the individual courses of phonological development for each child. Independent and relational analyses were completed at each age to describe word-initial and word-final phonetic inventories, syllable structure, syllable diversity, percentage of consonants correct (PCC), sound variability, and error patterns.

Results: The results indicated that 3 of the children resolved their late onset of speech by 33 to 35 months of age. In addition to quantitative factors, (e.g., limited phonetic inventory, lower PCC, and more sound errors), qualitative variables (e.g., atypical error patterns, greater sound variability, and slower rate of resolution) also were identified as potential markers of long-term phonological delay.

Clinical Implications: This study provides information to clinicians so they can identify those children who are less likely to resolve their late onset of phonological development without direct intervention. Procedures are described for assessing early linguistic behaviors that incorporate independent and relational analyses on more extensive speech samples (elicited and free play). From these analyses, clinicians can examine quantitative and qualitative variables to differentiate phonological delay from deviance.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Special thanks go to the children and their families who participated in this study. This study was made possible with the efforts of several people. We are grateful to all transcribers and data organizers at Indiana University, California State University Fullerton, and East Tennessee State University. Thanks to Beth Billman, Michelle Winner, Monica Griffin, and Margaret Sprunger for their assistance in data collection and phonetic transcription; and to Colleen Weighorst, Monica Luna, and Kim Kemple for their assistance in data analysis and organization. Portions of this research were presented at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (DC00260) to Mary Elbert.
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