Electrophysiological auditory responses and language development in infants with periventricular leukomalacia
This study presents evidence suggesting that electrophysiological responses to language-related auditory stimuli recorded at 46 weeks postconceptional age (PCA) are associated with language development, particularly in infants with periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). In order to investigate this hypothesis, electrophysiological responses to a set of auditory stimuli consisting of series of syllables and tones were recorded from a population of infants with PVL at 46 weeks PCA. A communicative development inventory (i.e., parent report) was applied to this population during a follow-up study performed at 14 months of age. The results of this later test were analyzed with a statistical clustering procedure, which resulted in two well-defined groups identified as the high-score (HS) and low-score (LS) groups. The event-induced power of the EEG data recorded at 46 weeks PCA was analyzed using a dimensionality reduction approach, resulting in a new set of descriptive variables. The LS and HS groups formed well-separated clusters in the space spanned by these descriptive variables, which can therefore be used to predict whether a new subject will belong to either of these groups. A predictive classification rate of 80% was obtained by using a linear classifier that was trained with a leave-one-out cross-validation technique.
from Brain and Language
Intrauterine growth retardation has a negative impact on language development which is evident in preschool years. Slow postnatal head growth is correlated with poorer language outcome. Neonatal complications were negatively correlated with language comprehension and total expressive language.
In the present study we analyse a sample of Irish Child Directed Speech in terms of item-based constructions and the communicative intents which they express. The study is based on the speech of an Irish native speaker engaged in daily activities with her son (aged 1;9). The findings of the analyses indicate the high degree of lexical specificity attested in the sample; in total 35 item-based frames account for just under 70% of analysed utterances. In most cases there was a one-to-one relationship between item-based frame and communicative intent. However, of particular interest was the clustering of structurally related frames around specific functions. We propose that this relationship highlights the role of communicative intent in the organisation of structural linguistic knowledge.
Conflict resolution strategies in children with normal language development: cooperation or individualism?
CONCLUSION: At 7 and 8 years of age, children with normal language development frequently use unilateral and cooperative strategies to solve problems.
Expressive vocabulary and phonological awareness: correlations in children with phonological disorders
CONCLUSION: A correlation was found between some phonological awareness abilities and the expressive vocabulary of the children with phonological disorder in this study, in different ages. Performance in both tasks improved with age.
This longitudinal assessment concentrated on the relation between the home literacy environment (HLE) and early language acquisition during infancy and toddlerhood. In study 1, after controlling for socio-economic status, a broadly defined HLE predicted language comprehension in 50 infants. In study 2, 27 children returned for further analyses. Findings revealed that the HLE measured in infancy predicted language production in toddlerhood and maternal redirecting behaviours measured in toddlerhood were negatively associated with expressive language. Results across both studies indicate the importance of a broadly defined HLE (including joint attention and parent–child conversation) for language development. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of the HLE in supporting both receptive and expressive vocabulary growth in the second and third years of life
The present study investigated the language development of 50 children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and 42 typically developing children from age 4 to 5 years, and was designed to shed more light on the respective roles of phonological working memory (WM) and nonverbal intelligence in vocabulary and syntax development. Results showed that nonverbal intelligence predicted phonological WM, vocabulary and syntax of children with ID at age 4 and 5, and that it only predicted these skills at age 4 in typically developing children. Furthermore, syntax at age 5 was predicted by vocabulary at age 4 in children with ID, which points to children with ID requiring a larger critical mass of vocabulary for syntactic development to be initiated.
CONCLUSION: The first language evaluation of children with risk factors for hearing loss should be carried during the first year of life, allowing early detection of language development issues.
Normal language acquisition is a process that unfolds with amazing speed primarily in the first years of life. However, the refinement of linguistic proficiency is an ongoing process, extending well into childhood and adolescence. An increase in lateralization and a more focussed productive language network have been suggested to be the neural correlates of this process. However, the processes underlying the refinement of language comprehension are less clear. Using a language comprehension (Beep Stories) and a language production (Vowel Identification) task in fMRI, we studied language representation and lateralization in 36 children, adolescents, and young adults (age 6–24 years). For the language comprehension network, we found a more focal activation with age in the bilateral superior temporal gyri. No significant increase of lateralization with age could be observed, so the neural basis of language comprehension as assessed with the Beep Stories task seems to be established in a bilateral network by late childhood. For the productive network, however, we could confirm an increase with age both in focus and lateralization. Only in the language comprehension task did verbal IQ correlate with lateralization, with higher verbal IQ being associated with more right-hemispheric involvement. In some subjects (24%), language comprehension and language production were lateralized to opposite hemispheres.
from Brain and Language
Recent studies on specific language impairment (SLI) have suggested that language deficits are directly associated with poor procedural learning abilities. Findings from our previous work are contrary to this hypothesis; we found that children with SLI were able to learn eight-element-long sequences as fast and as accurately as children with normal language (NL) on a serial reaction time (SRT) task. A probabilistic rather than a deterministic SRT paradigm was used in the current study to explore procedural learning in children with SLI to mimic real conditions of language learning. Fifteen children with or without SLI were compared on an SRT task including a probabilistic eight-element-long sequence. Results show that children with SLI were able to learn this sequence as fast and as accurately as children with NL, and that similar sequence-specific learning was observed in both groups. These results are novel and suggest that children with SLI do not display global procedural system deficits. (JINS, 2011, 17, 336–343)
The influence of parents’ speech on the development of spoken language in German-speaking children with cochlear implants
The present study examines the effect of parents’ language input on the linguistic progress of children with cochlear implants. Participants were 21 children with cochlear implants and their mothers. Age at implantation ranged between 14 and 46 months. The study was longitudinal with data collections every 4½ months for a period of 27 months. Spontaneous speech in a free play situation with a parent was recorded at each data point. Children’s grammar was measured in terms of Men Length of Utterance (MLU) and the use of noun plurals, verb markings, and case and gender markings on articles. Mothers’ child-directed speech was analysed in terms of MLU, self-repetitions and expansions. Time-lagged correlational analyses were performed relating properties of maternal speech at an earlier data point —while controlling for the child’s language level at this data point— to child language at subsequent data points. The results showed that maternal MLU and expansions are positively related to child linguistic progress. Higher maternal MLU and more expansions are related to higher child MLU subsequently. More specifically, expansions of specific grammatical structures are related to an increased correct use of these structures by the child subsequently. This was the case particularly for case and gender marking on articles, but also for noun plurals and verb markings. Maternal self-repetitions were negatively related to child progress in grammar. The results demonstrate an effect on mothers’ language input on the linguistic progress of young children with cochlear implants. Rich language input leads to better language growth.
Early language development is known to be under genetic influence, but the genes affecting normal variation in the general population remain largely elusive. Recent studies of disorder reported that variants of the CNTNAP2 gene are associated both with language deficits in specific language impairment (SLI) and with language delays in autism. We tested the hypothesis that these CNTNAP2 variants affect communicative behavior, measured at 2 years of age in a large epidemiological sample, the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Singlepoint analyses of 1149 children (606 males, 543 females) revealed patterns of association which were strikingly reminiscent of those observed in previous investigations of impaired language, centered on the same genetic markers, and with a consistent direction of effect (rs2710102, p = .0239; rs759178, p = .0248). Based on these findings we performed analyses of four-marker haplotypes of rs2710102-rs759178-rs17236239-rs2538976, and identified significant association (haplotype TTAA, p = .049; haplotype GCAG, p = .0014). Our study suggests that common variants in the exon 13-15 region of CNTNAP2 influence early language acquisition, as assessed at age 2, in the general population. We propose that these CNTNAP2 variants increase susceptibility to SLI or autism when they occur together with other risk factors.
A new measurement tool for speech development based on Ling’s stages of speech acquisition in pediatric cochlear implant recipients
The K-Ling was a valid evaluation tool regarding speech development in young children who are using CI and who are in the early stages of speech development. Longitudinal assessments of phonetic and phonologic developments may be attainable in young children using the K-Ling.
CONCLUSION: No association was observed between nutritional status and language development in the studied children. However, the indexes height-for-age and weight-for-age tended to be lower in children with language impairment.