Relationship between language and *behavior in toddlers
Sicherman, Stacey Weinberg
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School-aged children with language impairments exhibit more deficits in socialization, are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders (e.g., attention-deficit disorder, depression) and learning disabilities, and are more likely to exhibit problem behaviors than children who do not have language impairments. Much less is known, however, about the early origins of these difficulties in language impaired young children. Consequently, this retrospective study examined the relationship between language and behavior in toddlers from a metropolitan clinic sample.;Charts of 165 toddlers (18--36 months old) from an Early Intervention (EI) clinic were reviewed. Children were classified as having either (1) normal language development, (2) expressive language delays only, and (3) receptive and expressive language delays, depending on whether or not they scored more than one standard deviation below the mean on standardized language assessments.;Children with normal language ability performed better than children in both language impaired groups on measures of behavior observed during their EI evaluations on the Bayley Behavior Rating Scales and on the Socialization factor from the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Although children with expressive language delays only were rated better on behavioral measures than children with both expressive and receptive language delays, they were significantly more likely to exhibit socialization deficits than children with normal language ability.;This study demonstrates that toddlers with language delays already exhibit behaviors that are correlated with later behavioral and academic disorders seen in school-aged children. Furthermore, toddlers with expressive language delays only already exhibit deficits in socialization skills. Discussion focused on possible causative mechanisms underlying these connections between early language and behavior problems.
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