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Three profiles of language abilities in toddlers with an expressive vocabulary delay: variations on a theme.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Speech Lang Hear Res, Volume 53, Issue 3, p.699-709 (2010)


Analysis of Variance, Child Development, Child Language, Child, Preschool, Cluster Analysis, Cognition, Communication, Comprehension, Female, Humans, Infant, Language, Language Development Disorders, Language Tests, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Speech Perception


PURPOSE: The presence of an expressive vocabulary delay (EVD) in the context of otherwise harmonious development has been the main criterion used to define language delay in 2-year-olds. To better understand the communicative functioning of these children, other variables must be considered. In this study, the aim was to delineate and characterize clusters of 2-year-olds with EVD by measuring other language variables in these children.

METHOD: Language and related variables were measured in 68 francophone children with EVD.

RESULTS: In a cluster analysis, 2 language variables--(a) language expression and engagement in communication and (b) language comprehension--yielded 3 clusters ranging from weak language ability to high scores on both variables. Further differences were found between these clusters with regard to 2 correlates of lexical acquisition--namely, size of the expressive vocabulary and cognitive development.

CONCLUSION: These results shed new light on the notion of heterogeneity in toddlers who present with an EVD by proposing subgroups among them. A follow-up investigation of these participants is ongoing.

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