A Longitudinal Consideration of Late Talkers’ Development of Language, Metaphor, Theory of Mind, and Reading Skills
Authors: Camilla Crawshaw1, Carina Lüke2, Ute Ritterfeld1
1TU Dortmund University, Germany; 2 Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany
Corresponding Author: email@example.com
Prior work (Rescorla, 2009) has found that ‘late talkers’ continue to demonstrate masked differences and lower language and reading outcomes in comparison to their typically developing (TD) peers even into young adulthood. Delays in gesture production have also been found to predict developmental language disorder (DLD; cf. Sansavini et al., 2021) and children with DLD demonstrate difficulties with Theory of Mind (ToM) tasks (Nilsson & de Lopez, 2016) and metaphor comprehension (Bühler et al., 2018). Our study considers: In which language-related areas do late talkers still fall behind their TD peers at the age 9;0? A longitudinal sample (N=35) of monolingual German children began at age 1;0 and consists of: TD children (n=27), and children identified as late talkers at age 2;0 (n=8) of which two met criteria for DLD between ages 3;0-6;0. At 9;0 we investigated children’s language using three standardised measures of vocabulary, productive and receptive grammar, a standardised measure of reading, as well as their metalinguistic (metaphor comprehension; a selection of pretested items originally by Vogt and Indefrey (2017)) and metacognitive skills (pretested German translations of: Peterson et al.’s (2012) Extended ToM Scale; and Happé’s (1994) Strange Stories) and conducted group comparisons. In line with Rescorla (2009) our results indicate that late talkers can catch up with their TD peers in some areas of language skills (productive grammar) but that differences still remain across other measures of language and metalinguistic skills (vocabulary, receptive grammar, metaphor comprehension) as well as complex ToM (Strange Stories).
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