Language delay is not predictable from available risk factors

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Philip Wilson, Fiona McQuaige, Lucy Thompson, Alex McConnachie

AIMS: To investigate factors associated with language delay in a cohort of 30-month-old children and determine if identification of language delay requires active contact with families.

METHODS: Data were collected at a pilot universal 30-month health contact. Health visitors used a simple two-item language screen. Data were obtained for 315 children; language delay was found in 33. The predictive capacity of 13 variables which could realistically be known before the 30-month contact was analysed.

RESULTS: Seven variables were significantly associated with language delay in univariate analysis, but in logistic regression only five of these variables remained significant.

CONCLUSION: The presence of one or more risk factors had a sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 45%, but a positive predictive value of only 15%. The presence of one or more of these risk factors thus can not reliably be used to identify language delayed children, nor is it possible to define an "at risk" population because male gender was the only significant demographic factor and it had an unacceptably low specificity (52.5%). It is not possible to predict which children will have language delay at 30 months. Identification of this important ESSENCE disorder requires direct clinical contact with all families.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific World Journal
Volume2013
Pages (from-to)947018
ISSN2356-6140
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Research areas

  • Child, Preschool, Family Relations, Female, Humans, Language Development Disorders/diagnosis, Male, Prevalence, Prognosis, Proportional Hazards Models, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Factors, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sex Distribution, United Kingdom/epidemiology

ID: 217947152