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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Language delay is one of the major reasons that young children are referred for developmental or psychological evaluation. When no more primary condition is present, a child with a language delay is diagnosed with specific language impairment, with children ages 2 to 3 usually called late talkers. A vocabulary checklist such as the Language Development Survey (Rescorla, 1989) is an efficient screening tool for identifying language delay in toddlers. Research findings in five major domains of language and communication (gestures/play, phonology/vocalizations, vocabulary, grammar, and pragmatics) are reviewed, as well as standardized and naturalistic methods for assessing development in each domain. It is good clinical practice to screen for psychopathology when conducting a language assessment of young children, even though many preschoolers with language delay do not have significant psychopathology. Findings on associations between language delay and behavioral/emotional problems are reviewed, as well as commonly used rating forms for identifying maladjustment.

Keywords: language delay, late talkers, SLI, screening, gestures/play, phonology/vocalizations, vocabulary, grammar, pragmatics, psychopathology

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