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External Seminar: Stability and change in child language disorders

Tuesday 16 January 2018, 4.00PM to 5.00pm

Speaker(s): Courtenay Norbury - UCL


Longitudinal studies of child language development and disorder demonstrate both steady language growth yet remarkable stability in the rank order of language competencies, at least from about the age of 4. The extent to which growth and stability are influenced by other aspects of child development is a focus of the current study. In this talk I will present data from the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES), a population study of language change and stability from school entry. We followed approximately 500 children with a diverse range of language, cognitive, and social/emotional abilities from Reception to Year 3 (ages 4-8 years). All children showed growth in language skill, yet language was incredibly stable (ICC = .95). Thus, children with relatively low language scores at the beginning of formal education continued to have relatively low language scores in Year 3. Importantly though, children with multiple developmental challenges were not falling further behind, at least in mid-primary school. In fact, the rate of language growth was remarkably similar in three groups of children with diverse language and cognitive profiles. These findings raise important questions about the nature and ultimate goals of intervention programmes for children with language disorder.

Location: PS/B020