The quantity and quality of child-directed speech—language nutrition—provided to typically-developing children is associated with language outcomes—language health. Limited information is available about child-directed speech to children at biological risk of language impairments. We conducted a scoping review on caregiver child-directed speech for children with three clinical conditions associated with language impairments—preterm birth, intellectual disability, and autism—addressing three questions: (1) How does child-directed speech to these children differ from speech to typically-developing children? (2) What are the associations between child-directed speech and child language outcomes? (3) How convincing are intervention studies that aim to improve child-directed speech and thereby facilitate children’s language development? We identified 635 potential studies and reviewed 57 meeting study criteria. Child-directed speech to children with all conditions was comparable to speech to language-matched children; caregivers were more directive toward children with disorders. Most associations between child-directed speech and outcomes were positive. However, several interventions had minimal effects on child language. Trials with large samples, intensive interventions, and multiple data sources are needed to evaluate child-directed speech as a means to prevent language impairment. Clinicians should counsel caregivers to use high quality child-directed speech and responsive communication styles with children with these conditions.
Child and Adolescent Development
Janet Y. Bang, Aubrey S. Adiao, Virginia A. Marchman, and Heidi M. Feldman. "Language nutrition for language health in children with disorders: a scoping review" Pediatric Research (2019): 300-308. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-019-0551-0