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Levers for Language Growth: Characteristics and Predictors of Language Trajectories between 4 and 7 Years.

McKean C, Mensah FK, Eadie P, Bavin EL, Bretherton L, Cini E, Reilly S - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: To determine where to focus effort we must identify mutable factors, that is those with the potential to be changed through interventions, which are associated with significant differences in children's language scores and rate of progress.A significant degree of variability in rate of progress between 4 and 7 years was evident, much of which was systematically associated with mutable-proximal factors, that is, those factors with evidence that they are modifiable through interventions with the child or family, such as shared book reading, TV viewing and number of books in the home.Early Years services should acknowledge the effects of multiple, cascading and cumulative risks and seek to promote child language development through the aggregation of marginal gains in the pre-school years and beyond.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Evidence is required as to when and where to focus resources to achieve the greatest gains for children's language development. Key to these decisions is the understanding of individual differences in children's language trajectories and the predictors of those differences. To determine optimal timing we must understand if and when children's relative language abilities become fixed. To determine where to focus effort we must identify mutable factors, that is those with the potential to be changed through interventions, which are associated with significant differences in children's language scores and rate of progress.

Methods: Uniquely this study examined individual differences in language growth trajectories in a population sample of children between 4 and 7 years using the multilevel model for change. The influence of predictors, grouped with respect to their mutability and their proximity to the child (least-mutable, mutable-distal, mutable-proximal), were estimated.

Results: A significant degree of variability in rate of progress between 4 and 7 years was evident, much of which was systematically associated with mutable-proximal factors, that is, those factors with evidence that they are modifiable through interventions with the child or family, such as shared book reading, TV viewing and number of books in the home. Mutable-distal factors, such as family income, family literacy and neighbourhood disadvantage, hypothesised to be modifiable through social policy, were important predictors of language abilities at 4 years.

Conclusions: Potential levers for language interventions lie in the child's home learning environment from birth to age 4. However, the role of a family's material and cultural capital must not be ignored, nor should the potential for growth into the school years. Early Years services should acknowledge the effects of multiple, cascading and cumulative risks and seek to promote child language development through the aggregation of marginal gains in the pre-school years and beyond.

No MeSH data available.


Scatterplot of the relationship between Language Z score at 4 years (intercept) and rate of change in Language Z scores per year from 4–7 years (slope).
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pone.0134251.g001: Scatterplot of the relationship between Language Z score at 4 years (intercept) and rate of change in Language Z scores per year from 4–7 years (slope).

Mentions: The average intercept and slope in scaled CELF score were close to zero in the unconditional model (intercept M = .02; slope M = .00) reflecting the fact that the language score had been scaled and converted to Z scores. The between person variance around the intercept was .87 and around the slope was .11 (Table 4). This variance in slope indicates a SD of .33. This means that over the 3 years studied, 68% of the sample have rates of progress which vary between approximately +1 and -1 SD per 3 years in language scores and 95% have changes between + 2 and– 2 SD per 3 years. A substantial degree of variability in slope therefore continues to be present in this age range (see Fig 1).


Levers for Language Growth: Characteristics and Predictors of Language Trajectories between 4 and 7 Years.

McKean C, Mensah FK, Eadie P, Bavin EL, Bretherton L, Cini E, Reilly S - PLoS ONE (2015)

Scatterplot of the relationship between Language Z score at 4 years (intercept) and rate of change in Language Z scores per year from 4–7 years (slope).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4524638&req=5

pone.0134251.g001: Scatterplot of the relationship between Language Z score at 4 years (intercept) and rate of change in Language Z scores per year from 4–7 years (slope).
Mentions: The average intercept and slope in scaled CELF score were close to zero in the unconditional model (intercept M = .02; slope M = .00) reflecting the fact that the language score had been scaled and converted to Z scores. The between person variance around the intercept was .87 and around the slope was .11 (Table 4). This variance in slope indicates a SD of .33. This means that over the 3 years studied, 68% of the sample have rates of progress which vary between approximately +1 and -1 SD per 3 years in language scores and 95% have changes between + 2 and– 2 SD per 3 years. A substantial degree of variability in slope therefore continues to be present in this age range (see Fig 1).

Bottom Line: To determine where to focus effort we must identify mutable factors, that is those with the potential to be changed through interventions, which are associated with significant differences in children's language scores and rate of progress.A significant degree of variability in rate of progress between 4 and 7 years was evident, much of which was systematically associated with mutable-proximal factors, that is, those factors with evidence that they are modifiable through interventions with the child or family, such as shared book reading, TV viewing and number of books in the home.Early Years services should acknowledge the effects of multiple, cascading and cumulative risks and seek to promote child language development through the aggregation of marginal gains in the pre-school years and beyond.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Evidence is required as to when and where to focus resources to achieve the greatest gains for children's language development. Key to these decisions is the understanding of individual differences in children's language trajectories and the predictors of those differences. To determine optimal timing we must understand if and when children's relative language abilities become fixed. To determine where to focus effort we must identify mutable factors, that is those with the potential to be changed through interventions, which are associated with significant differences in children's language scores and rate of progress.

Methods: Uniquely this study examined individual differences in language growth trajectories in a population sample of children between 4 and 7 years using the multilevel model for change. The influence of predictors, grouped with respect to their mutability and their proximity to the child (least-mutable, mutable-distal, mutable-proximal), were estimated.

Results: A significant degree of variability in rate of progress between 4 and 7 years was evident, much of which was systematically associated with mutable-proximal factors, that is, those factors with evidence that they are modifiable through interventions with the child or family, such as shared book reading, TV viewing and number of books in the home. Mutable-distal factors, such as family income, family literacy and neighbourhood disadvantage, hypothesised to be modifiable through social policy, were important predictors of language abilities at 4 years.

Conclusions: Potential levers for language interventions lie in the child's home learning environment from birth to age 4. However, the role of a family's material and cultural capital must not be ignored, nor should the potential for growth into the school years. Early Years services should acknowledge the effects of multiple, cascading and cumulative risks and seek to promote child language development through the aggregation of marginal gains in the pre-school years and beyond.

No MeSH data available.