Late talking, typical talking, and weak language skills at middle childhood

Gerard H. Poll, Carol A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


To better understand early predictors of weak language and academic abilities, we identified children with and without weak abilities at age 8. We then looked back at age 2 vocabulary and word combining, and evaluated these measures as predictors of age 8 outcomes. More than 60% of children with weak oral language abilities at 8 were not late talkers at 2. However, no word combining at 2 was a significant risk factor for poor oral language, reading comprehension, and math outcomes at 8. The association of no word combining with age 8 reading comprehension and math ability was mediated by age 8 oral language ability. The findings indicate that children take different developmental pathways to weak language abilities in middle childhood. One begins with a delayed onset of language. A second begins with language measures in the typical range, but ends with language ability falling well below typical peers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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