First Advisor

Rhea Paul

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication


Language disorders in children, Speech disorders in children



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 61 p.)


Researchers are seeking more information . on how and why language disorders tend to run in families, particularly siblings of language disordered children. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of language and related disorders in the siblings of two groups of children: those with slow expressive language development (SELD) and those with a normal language history. This study sought to answer the following questions: 1) Is there a significant difference in prevalence of language problems in two groups of children: those with SELD and those with a normal language history?, and 2) Is there a greater probability of language problems in the siblings of children in the SELD group who have receptive/expressive language disorders when compared to those SELD children with pure expressive language deficits or to those with a normal language history? Subjects were 45 7-and 8-year old children participating in a longitudinal study at Portland State University. The children were divided into two groups, normal and SELD, based on test scores administered at intake to the original study. In order to look at the effect of a receptive component on heritability of language disorders, the SELD group was subgrouped into pure expressive language disorders and receptive/expressive language disorders based on tests administered at intake. A family history questionnaire was the method of data collection, asking parents to report on ten areas of language and related disorders in the siblings of subjects. Results of one-sided z-tests and a chi-square test were computed and consistently found a highly significant difference between groups, with families of SELD subjects more likely to report a history of language problems over the normal group. These results are consistent with previous research in showing the heritability of language disorders. Results may also indicate that a receptive language component is associated with heritability of specific language disorders among children.


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