Reduced Speaking Rate as an Early Predictor of Reading Disability Purpose This study evaluated whether developmental reading disability could be predicted in children at the age of 30 months, according to 3 measures of speech production: speaking rate, articulation rate, and the proportion of speaking time allocated to pausing. Method Speech samples of 18 children at high risk ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2006
Reduced Speaking Rate as an Early Predictor of Reading Disability
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allan B. Smith
    University of Maine, Orono
  • Jenny Roberts
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Susan Lambrecht Smith
    University of Maine, Orono
  • John L. Locke
    Lehman College, New York
  • Jane Bennett
    University of Maine, Orono
  • Contact author: Allan B. Smith, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 5724 Dunn Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5724. E-mail: allan.b.smith@umit.maine.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2006
Reduced Speaking Rate as an Early Predictor of Reading Disability
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2006, Vol. 15, 289-297. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/027)
History: Received July 28, 2005 , Accepted April 4, 2006
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2006, Vol. 15, 289-297. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/027)
History: Received July 28, 2005; Accepted April 4, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose This study evaluated whether developmental reading disability could be predicted in children at the age of 30 months, according to 3 measures of speech production: speaking rate, articulation rate, and the proportion of speaking time allocated to pausing.

Method Speech samples of 18 children at high risk and 10 children at low risk for reading disability were recorded at 30 months of age. High risk was determined by history of reading disability in at least 1 of the child’s parents. In grade school, a reading evaluation identified 9 children within the high-risk group as having reading disability and 9 children as not having reading disability. The 10 children at low risk for reading disability tested negative for reading disability.

Results Children with reading disability showed a significantly slower speaking rate than children at high risk without reading disability. Children with reading disability allocated significantly more time to pausing, as compared with the other groups. Articulation rate did not differ significantly across groups.

Conclusions Speaking rate and the proportion of pausing time to speaking time may provide an early indication of reading outcome in children at high risk for reading disability.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Cape Branch Foundation, and the Massachusetts Humane Society, awarded to the Neurolinguistics Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are also extremely grateful to the families who participated in this project.
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