Individual differences in speech and language ability profiles in areas of high deprivation

Julie-Ann Jordan, Lorraine Coulter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Speech and language ability is not a unitary concept; rather, it is made up of multiple abilities such as grammar, articulation and vocabulary. Young children from socio-economically deprived areas are more likely to experience language difficulties than those living in more affluent areas. However, less is known about individual differences in language difficulties amongst young children from socio-economically deprived backgrounds. The present research examined 172 four-year-old children from socio-economically deprived areas on standardised measures of core language, receptive vocabulary, articulation, information conveyed and grammar. Of the total sample, 26% had difficulty in at least one area of language. While most children with speech and language difficulty had generally low performance in all areas, around one in 10 displayed more uneven language abilities. For example, some children had generally good speech and language ability, but had specific difficulty with grammar. In such cases their difficulty is masked somewhat by good overall performance on language tests but they could still benefit from intervention in a specific area. The analysis also identified a number of typically achieving children who were identified as having borderline speech and language difficulty and should be closely monitored
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalChild Care in Practice
Early online date11 Jul 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 Jul 2016


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