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Do parent-reported early indicators predict later developmental language disorder?


Calder, S.D., Boyes, M., Brennan‐Jones, C.G., Whitehouse, A.J.O., Robinson, M. and Hill, E. (2023). Do parent‐reported early indicators predict later developmental language disorder? A Raine Study investigation. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. doi:

Key terms in this paper

  • The Raine Study: This is a study that looks at how children develop over time. About 1900 pregnant women in Western Australia took part.

  • Referral bias: more men than women are getting help from clinicians for language difficulties.

Aim of the paper

Not identifying children with DLD is a risk to public health, the economy, education and employment and wellbeing. It is important to identify DLD early. However, DLD is a complex condition with many risk factors. This study looked at the relationship between parent-reported early indicators of DLD from birth to 3 years old, and children meeting DLD diagnosis at 10 years of age.

The study:

  1. Used the Raine Study data to look at parent-reported early indicators of DLD.

  2. Test the relationship between parent-reported indicators and children meeting diagnostic criteria for DLD at 10 years.

What was found

  • Similar to the finding of other studies, the Raine Study data used parent-reported early indicators of DLD, including does not smile or interact with others, does not babble or make sounds, cannot understand what is being said, produces few and easy-to-understand words, find it hard to combine words and make sentences.

  • For children without DLD, parents reported significantly more babbling at or before the age of 6 months. Reports of other early indicators show no significant differences between children with DLD and children without DLD.

  • No one parent-reported early indicator alone, or any combination of a few indicators, can fully predict DLD at 10 years of age.

  • There was no differences between boys’ and girls’ parent-reported early indicators and diagnosis of DLD at 10 years of age.

What does this mean?

There were no differences between males and females being identified with DLD at age 10. Parent-reported indicators can help guide clinical diagnosis, but no single indicator alone is enough to predict DLD diagnosis later in life. The present study suggests that standardised tests and parental-reported concerns are both necessary for early identification of DLD.

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it. Please click here to find the full paper:

Research summary written by Shimin Wang.


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