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Narrative skills, cognitive profiles and neuropsychiatric disorders in 7-8-year-old children with late developing language
Department of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Allmänpediatrisk forskning/Nordvall)
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2007 (English)In: International journal of language and communication disorders, ISSN 1368-2822, E-ISSN 1460-6984, Vol. 42, no 6, 665-681 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: A community-representative sample of screened and clinically examined children with language delay at 2.5 years of age was followed up at school age when their language development was again examined and the occurrence of neuropsychiatric/neurodevelopmental disorder (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD)) was documented. AIMS: (1) To determine whether these 7-8-year-old children with a history of language delay have deficits in narrative skills compared with the age norms of standardized tests; and (2) to analyse if there is a relationship between narrative outcome, cognitive profile, and neuropsychiatric diagnosis. METHODS & PROCEDURES: Twenty-one children recruited from a community sample and with a history of language delay underwent an in-depth multidisciplinary examination at 7-8 years of age. Their narrative and cognitive skills were examined using the Bus Story Test, the Narrative Memory Subtest from the Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY), and The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children III (WISC-III). OUTCOMES & RESULTS: The three measures of the Bus Story Test (information, sentence length, and subordinate clauses) were below age norms for all 21 children, of whom 13 also had a neuropsychiatric diagnosis, i.e. ADHD and/or ASD. Half of the children with language delay had problems on Bus Story Test Information and on the Narrative Memory subtest independently of co-occurrence of neuropsychiatric disorder. The only difference across the children with language delay pure and those who had language delay plus ADHD or language delay plus ASD was on Freedom from Distractibility, where children with ADHD and ASD scored low. In addition, children with ASD had a much lower overall cognitive level (FSIQ) and poorer results on Processing Speed. CONCLUSIONS: Swedish children with late developing language at 2.5 years of age have persisting difficulties with oral narrative skills at age 7-8 years. However, almost none of the children with language delay had problems when responding to story-related questions--irrespective of whether or not they had an additional diagnosis of ADHD or ASD. Thus, asking story-related questions may be a good intervention strategy when working with these children. Because narrative difficulties are a reflection of linguistic, cognitive and/or pragmatic/social difficulties, it is important for clinicians of different specialties to work in close collaboration in order to establish a reliable measure that can be used in clinical assessment. Poor results on the WISC-III Kaufman Freedom from Distractibility factor had a strong relationship with a neuropsychiatric diagnosis (not just ADHD), whereas poor results on Bus Story Test Information or NEPSY Narrative Memory (measured as Free Recall) did not. Narrative problems were present among the language delay children even in the presence of adequate speech and verbal comprehension. Thus, narrative assessment may be a useful tool for identifying children with more persistent subtle language and pragmatic problems who are at risk for academic failure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 42, no 6, 665-681 p.
Keyword [en]
narrative skill, cognitive profile, language delay, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-103791DOI: 10.1080/13682820601084428ISI: 000251511200003PubMedID: 17852517OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-103791DiVA: diva2:218713
Available from: 2009-05-20 Created: 2009-05-20 Last updated: 2011-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Westerlund, Monica
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