No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Aug 2002

Use of the Language Development Survey (LDS) in a National Probability Sample of Children 18 to 35 Months Old

    Data are reported from a national probability sample used to norm the Language Development Survey (LDS; L. Rescorla, 1989) and the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 1 1/2–5 (CBCL/1 1/2–5; T. M. Achenbach & L. Rescorla, 2000). Participants were 278 children 18 to 35 months old who were highly diverse in socioeconomic status (SES), ethnic composition, and language background. Vocabulary scores increased markedly with age, were somewhat higher in girls, and were modestly correlated with SES. Children of non-Latino White ethnicity had significantly higher vocabulary scores and mean length of phrases than children of African American or ‘other’ ethnicity (Hispanics/Asians/Native Americans/ South Asians/mixed), even when SES was used as a covariate. Rate of language delay, using the cut-off of fewer than 50 words or no word combinations, was lower in the non-Latino White group (4%) than in the other two ethnicity groups (29% and 24%). Correlations between LDS scores and problem scores on the CBCL/1 1/2–5 were low, indicating that language delay and emotional/behavior problems were not closely associated in this general population sample of children 18 to 35 months old.


    • Achenbach, T. M. (1992). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/2–3 and 1992 Profile. Burlington, VT: University Associates in Psychiatry.
    • Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2000). Manual for the ASEBA Preschool Forms and Profiles. Burlington: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
    • Aram, D., Ekelman, B., & Nation, J. (1984). Preschoolers with language disorders: 10 years later.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27, 232–244.
    • Arriaga, R. I., Fenson, L., Cronan, T., & Pethick, S. J. (1998). Scores on the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory of children from low- and middle-income families.Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 209–223.
    • Baker, L., & Cantwell, D. (1982). Psychiatric disorders in children with different types of communicative disorders.Journal of Communication Disorders, 15, 113–126.
    • Beitchman, J. H., Hood, J., & Inglis, A. (1990). Psychiatric risk in children with speech and language disorders.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 283–296.
    • Bishop, D. V. M., & Adams, C. (1990). A prospective study of the relationship between specific language impairment, phonological disorders, and reading retardation.Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 31, 1027–1050.
    • Dale, P. S. (1991). The validity of a parent report measure of vocabulary and syntax at 24 months.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34, 565–571.
    • Dale, P. S., Bates, E., Reznick, J. S., & Morisset, C. (1989). The validity of a parent report instrument of child language at 20 months.Journal of Child Language, 16, 239–249.
    • Feldman, H. M., Dollaghan, C. A., Campbell, T. F., Kurs-Lasky, M., Janosky, J. E., & Paradise, J. L. (2000). Measurement properties of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories at ages one and two years.Child Development, 71, 310–322.
    • Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Bates, E., Thal, D., Hartung, J., et al. (1993). Guide and technical manual for the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories. San Diego, CA: Singular Press.
    • Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Bates, E., Thal, D., & Pethick, S. (1994). Variability in early communicative development.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59(5, Serial No. 242).
    • Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Hollingshead, A. (1975). Four-factor index of social status. New Haven, CT: Author.
    • Jackson-Moldonado, D., Thal, D., Marchman, V., Bates, E., & Gutierrez-Clellen, V. (1993). Early lexical development in Spanish-speaking infants and toddlers.Journal of Child Language, 20, 523–549.
    • Klee, T., Carson, D. K., Gavin, W. J., Hall, L., Kent, A., & Reece, S. (1998). Concurrent and predictive validity of an early language screening program.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 627–641.
    • Patterson, J. L. (1998). Expressive vocabulary development and word combinations of Spanish-English bilingual toddlers.American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7(4), 46–56.
    • Pearson, B. Z., Fernandez, S. C., Lewedeg, V., & Oller, D. K. (1997). The relation of input factors to lexical learning by bilingual infants.Applied Psycholinguistics, 18, 41–58.
    • Redmond, S., & Rice, M. L. (1998). The socioemotional behaviors of children with SLI: Social adaptation or social deviance.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 688–700.
    • Rescorla, L. (1989). The Language Development Survey: A screening tool for delayed language in toddlers.Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 54, 587–599.
    • Rescorla, L. (2000). Do late talkers turn out to have reading difficulties a decade later?.Annals of Dyslexia, 50, 87–102.
    • Rescorla, L., & Alley, A. (2001). Validation of the Language Development Survey (LDS): A parent report tool for identifying language delay in toddlers.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 434–445.
    • Rescorla, L., Dahlsgaard, K., & Roberts, J. (2000). Late-talking toddlers: MLU and IPSyn outcomes at 3;0 and 4;0.Journal of Child Language, 27, 643–664.
    • Rescorla, L., Hadicke-Wiley, M., & Escarce, E. (1993). Epidemiological investigation of expressive language delay at age two.First Language, 13, 5–22.
    • Rescorla, L., & Lee, E. C. (2000). Language impairment in young children. In T. Layton & L. Watson (Eds.), Handbook of early language impairments in children. Volume I: Nature. New York: Delmar Publishing.
    • Rescorla, L., Mirak, J., & Singh, L. (2000). Vocabulary growth in late talkers from 2;0 to 3;0.Journal of Child Language, 27, 293–311.
    • Reynell, J., & Gruber, C. (1985). Reynell Developmental Language Scales. Los Angeles: Western Publishing.
    • Reznick, J. S., & Goldfield, B. (1994). Diary vs. representative checklist assessment of productive vocabulary.Journal of Child Language, 21, 465–472.
    • Reznick, J. S., & Goldsmith, L. (1989). A multiple form production checklist for assessing early language.Journal of Child Language, 16, 91–100.
    • Richman, N., Stevenson, J., & Graham, P. J. (1982). Preschool to school: A behavioral study. New York: Academic Press.
    • Roberts, J. E., Burchinal, M., & Durham, M. (1999). Parents' report of vocabulary and grammatical development of African American preschoolers: Child and environmental associations.Child Development, 70, 92–106.
    • Stockman, I. J. (1996). The promises and pitfalls of language sample analysis as an assessment tool for linguistic minority children.Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 27, 355–366.
    • Stothard, S. E., Snowling, M. J., Bishop, D. V. M., Chipchase, B. B., & Kaplan, C. A. (1998). Language-impaired preschoolers: A follow-up into adolescence.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 407–418.
    • Thal, D. J., O'Hanlon, L., Clemmons, M., & Fralin, L. (1999). Validity of a parent report measure of vocabulary and syntax for preschool children with language impairment.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 482–496.
    • U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Report of the 2000 census. Retrieved DecemberRetrieved 2001 from

    Additional Resources