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Children screening positive for language delay at 2.5 years: language disorder and developmental profiles

Authors Schachinger-Lorentzon U, Kadesjö B, Gillberg C, Miniscalco C

Received 3 July 2018

Accepted for publication 28 September 2018

Published 28 November 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 3267—3277

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S179055

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Ulrika Schachinger-Lorentzon,1 Björn Kadesjö,2 Christopher Gillberg,2 Carmela Miniscalco1,2

1Department of Pediatric Speech and Language Pathology, Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Purpose: To characterize language disorder and developmental profiles in children who screened positive for language delay but negative for autism at 2.5 years of age.
Patients and methods: The first 100 children who screened positive for language delay – but negative for autism – in 2016 were assessed in detail by speech language pathologists. Parents completed a newly developed questionnaire covering eight domains – Motor, Executive functions, Perception, Memory, Language, Learning, Social skills and Child’s behaviour – with impairment scored for each domain.
Results: ICD-10 language disorder diagnoses were made in 87/100 children (29 girls, 58 boys). Of 52 children with mixed receptive–expressive language disorder, 32% had problems in other developmental areas according to the “global rating” in the impairment questions of the questionnaire. Of the 35 with expressive language disorder, 21% had problems in other areas according to the impairment questions. Thirteen children had isolated language delay with no other diagnoses according to the speech and language pathologists’ assessment; however, 23% of them had problems according to the parental rating on the impairment questions.
Conclusion: Most children screening positive for language delay but negative for autism at age 2.5 years were diagnosed with ICD-10 language disorder diagnoses. Parents in about one in four cases reported impairing problems within other developmental areas. Possible explanations for the findings are discussed.

Keywords: comorbidity, language disorder, neurodevelopmental, parental questionnaire, preschool children

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