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BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests there is a heightened risk of psychiatric disorder in children with speech-language impairments. However, not all forms of language impairment are strongly associated with psychosocial difficulty, and some psychiatric disorders (e.g., attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)) are more prevalent than others in language-impaired populations. The present study assessed the psychosocial adjustment in adolescence of young people with history of speech-language impairment, and investigated specific relationships between language deficits and psychiatric disorders. METHODS: Seventy-one young people (aged 15-16 years) with a preschool history of speech-language impairment were assessed using a psychiatric interview (K-SADS) supplemented by questionnaires probing social encounters and parental reports of behaviour and attention. Their psycho-social adjustment was compared with that of a cross-sectional control group of age-matched controls. RESULTS: Overall the rate of psychiatric disorder was low in the clinical sample and children whose language delay had resolved by 5.5 years had a good outcome. For those whose language difficulties persisted through the school years, there was a raised incidence of attention and social difficulties. These difficulties were partially independent and associated with different language profiles. The group with attention problems showed a profile of specific expressive language difficulties; the group with social difficulties had receptive and expressive language difficulties; and the group with both attention and social difficulties was of low IQ with global language difficulties. CONCLUSIONS: Amongst children with speech-language delays at 5.5 years, those with more severe and persistent language difficulties and low nonverbal IQ are at higher risk of psychiatric morbidity in adolescence.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01631.x

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Child Psychol Psychiatry

Publication Date

08/2006

Volume

47

Pages

759 - 765

Keywords

Adolescent, Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Child, Child, Preschool, Comorbidity, Conduct Disorder, Cross-Sectional Studies, Dysthymic Disorder, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Incidence, Intelligence, Language Development Disorders, Language Therapy, Male, Mental Disorders, Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Social Adjustment, Socioeconomic Factors, Speech Disorders, Speech Therapy, Statistics as Topic