Developmental language disorder (DLD), defined by low language performance despite otherwise normal development, can negatively impact children's social and academic outcomes. This study is the 1st to examine DLD in Vietnamese. To lay the foundation, we identified cases of DLD in Vietnam and explored language-specific characteristics of the disorder.


Teacher ratings of 1,250 kindergarteners living in Hanoi, Vietnam, were used to recruit children with and without risk for DLD. One hundred four children completed direct measures of vocabulary and language sampling, and their parents completed in-depth surveys. We examined convergence and divergence across tasks to identify measures that could serve as reliable indicators of risk. Then, we compared performance on direct language measures across ability levels.


There were positive associations between teacher and parent report and between report and direct language measures. Three groups were identified based on convergence across measures: DLD, some risk for DLD, and no risk. The DLD group performed lowest on measures of receptive and expressive vocabulary, mean length of utterance, and grammaticality. Although children with DLD exhibited a greater number of errors, the types of errors found were similar across DLD and No Risk groups.


Similar to rates found globally, 7% of the kindergarten population in Vietnam exhibited risk for DLD. Results highlight the importance of parent and teacher report and the value of multiple measures to identify DLD. We discuss potential clinical markers for DLD in the Vietnamese language and outline future directions.


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