Purpose

The ability to identify children early in development who are at substantial risk for language/literacy difficulties would have great benefit both for the children and for the educational and therapeutic institutions that serve them. Information that is relatively easily available prior to the age of 3 years, such as late talking, family history of language/literacy difficulties, and socioeconomic status, have some but very limited predictive power. Here, we examine whether the inclusion of a DNA-based genome-wide polygenic score that has been shown to capture children's genetic propensity for educational attainment (EA3) adds enough prediction to yield a clinically useful score.

Method

Data are longitudinal scores of 1,420 children from the Twins Early Development Study, who were assessed at ages 2 and 3 years on language and nonverbal ability and at 12 years of age on oral language, word decoding, and reading comprehension. Five risk factors were examined: expressive vocabulary, nonverbal ability (these two from parent report), family history, mothers' education, and EA3. Analyses were conducted both for continuous and categorically defined measures of risk and outcome.

Results

Language and literacy abilities at 12 years of age were significantly but modestly predicted by the risk factors, with a small but significant added prediction from EA3. Indices of diagnostic validity for poor outcomes, such as sensitivity and area under the curve statistics, were poor in all cases.

Conclusions

We conclude that, at present, clinically useful prediction from toddlerhood remains an unattained goal.

Supplemental Material

https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.12170331

References

  • Allegrini, A. G., Selzam, S., Rimfeld, K., von Stumm, S., Pingault, J. B., & Plomin, R. (2019). Genomic prediction of cognitive traits in childhood and adolescence.Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 819–827. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0394-4
  • Ayorech, Z., Plomin, R., & von Stumm, S. (2019). Using DNA to predict educational trajectories in early adulthood.Developmental Psychology, 55, 1088–1095. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/dev0000682
  • Caspi, A., Houts, R. M., Belsky, D. W., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. E. (2016). Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden.Nature Human Behaviour, 1, Article No. 0005. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-016-0005
  • Dale, P. S., Harlaar, N., Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., & Plomin, R. (2010). The etiology of diverse receptive language skills at 12 years.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(4), 982–992. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0108)
  • Dale, P. S., & Hayiou-Thomas, M. E. (2013). Outcomes for late talkers: A twin study.In L. A. Rescorla & P. S. Dale (Eds.), Late talkers: Language development, interventions, and outcomes (pp. 241–257). Brookes.
  • Dale, P. S., McMillan, A. J., Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., & Plomin, R. (2014). Illusory recovery: Are recovered children with early language delay at continuing elevated risk?.American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23(3), 437–447. https://doi.org/10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0116
  • Dale, P. S., Price, T. S., Bishop, D. V. M., & Plomin, R. (2003). Outcomes of early language delay: I. Predicting persistent and transient language difficulties at 3 and 4 years.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46(3), 544–560. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2003/044)
  • Dollaghan, C. (2013). Late talker as a clinical category: A critical evaluation.In L. A. Rescorla & P. S. Dale (Eds.), Late talkers: Language development, interventions and outcomes (pp. 91–112). Brookes.
  • Duff, F. J., & Snowling, M. J. (2015). Reading disorders.In E. L. Bavin & L. R. Naigles (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of child language (2nd ed., pp. 681–702). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316095829.031
  • Fenson, L., Marchman, V. A., Thal, D. J., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., & Bates, E. (2007). MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories: User's guide and technical manual (2nd ed.). Brookes. https://doi.org/10.1037/t11538-000
  • Fenson, L., Pethick, S., Renda, C., Cox, J., Dale, P. S., & Reznick, J. S. (2000). Short-form versions of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories.Applied Psycholinguistics, 21, 95–115. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1017/S0142716400001053
  • Fernald, A., & Marchman, V. A. (2012). Individual differences in lexical processing at 18 months predict vocabulary growth in typically developing and late-talking toddlers.Child Development, 83(1), 203–222. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01692.x
  • GOAL. (2002). GOAL Formative Assessment: Key Stage 3. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Hammill, D. D., Brown, V. L., Larsen, S. C., & Wiederholt, J. L. (1994). Test of Adolescent and Adult Language (TOAL-3). Pro-Ed.
  • Haworth, C. M. A., Davis, O. S. P., & Plomin, R. (2013). Twins Early Development Study (TEDS): A genetically sensitive investigation of cognitive and behavioral development from childhood to young adulthood.Twin Research and Human Genetics, 16(1), 117–125. https://doi.org/10.1017/thg.2012.91
  • Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (2014). Language impairment from 4 to 12 years: Prediction and etiology.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57(3), 850–864. https://doi.org/10.1044/2013_JSLHR-L-12-0240
  • Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Smith-Woolley, E., & Dale, P. S. (2020). Breadth versus depth: Cumulative risk model and continuous measure prediction of poor language and reading outcomes at 12. Manuscript under review.
  • Hoff, E. (2006). How social contexts support and shape language development.Developmental Review, 26(1), 55–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2005.11.002
  • Kaplan, E., Fein, D., Kramer, J., Delis, D., & Morris, R. (1999). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children–Third Edition as a Process Instrument (WISC-III-PI). Psychological Corp.
  • Krapohl, E., Rimfeld, K., Shakeshaft, N. G., Trzaskowski, M., McMillan, A., Pingault, J.-B., Asbury, K., Harlaar, N., Kovas, Y., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (2014). The high heritability of educational achievement reflects many genetically influenced traits, not just intelligence.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(42), 15273–15278. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1408777111
  • Law, J., Rush, R., Schoon, I., & Parsons, S. (2009). Modeling developmental language difficulties from school entry into adulthood: Literacy, mental health, and employment outcomes.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52(6), 1401–1416. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0142)
  • Lee, J. J., Wedow, R., Okbay, A., Kong, E., Maghazian, O., Zacher, M., Kong, E., Maghzian, O., Zacher, M., Nguyen-Viet, T. A., Bowers, P., Sidorenko, J., Linnér, R. K., Fontana, M. A., Kundu, T., Lee, C., Li, H., Li, R., Royer, R., … Cesarini, D. (2018). Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals.Nature Genetics, 50, 1112–1121. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0147-3
  • Leonard, L. (2013). Alternative routes to language impairment.In L. A. Rescorla & P. S. Dale (Eds.), Late talkers: Language development, interventions, and outcomes (pp. 363–376). Brookes.
  • Leonard, L. (2014). Children with specific language impairment (2nd ed.). MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9152.001.0001
  • Marinus, E., & Castles, A. (2015). Precursors to reading: Phonological awareness and letter knowledge.In E. L. Bavin & L. R. Naigles (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of child language (2nd ed., pp. 661–680). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316095829.030
  • Markwardt, F. C., Jr. (1997). Peabody Individual Achievement Test–Revised–Normative Update. Pearson Assessments.
  • Newbury, D. F., Gibson, J. L., Conti-Ramsden, G., Pickles, A., Durkin, K., & Toseeb, U. (2019). Using polygenic profiles to predict variation in language and psychosocial outcomes in early and middle childhood.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(9), 3381–3396. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-L-19-0001
  • Oliver, B., Dale, P. S., Saudino, K. J., Petrill, S. A., Pike, A., & Plomin, R. (2002). The validity of a parent-based assessment of cognitive abilities in three-year-olds.Early Child Development and Care, 172(4), 337–348. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430212713
  • Oliver, B., & Plomin, R. (2007). Twins’ Early Development Study (TEDS): A multivariate, longitudinal genetic investigation of language, cognition and behavior problems from childhood through adolescence.Twin Research and Human Genetics, 10, 96–105. https://doi.org/10.1375/twin.10.1.96
  • Psyridou, M., Eklund, K., Poikkeus, A.-M., & Torppa, M. (2018). Reading outcomes of children with delayed early vocabulary: A follow-up from age 2–16.Research in Developmental Disabilities, 78, 114–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2018.05.004
  • Rescorla, L. A. (2013). Late-talking toddlers: A 15-year follow-up.In L. A. Rescorla & P. S. Dale (Eds.), Late talkers: Language development, interventions, and outcomes (pp. 219–239). Brookes.
  • Rescorla, L. A., & Dale, P. S. (2013). Late talkers: Language development, interventions, and outcomes. Brookes.
  • Rice, M. L., Taylor, C. L., Zubrick, S. R., Hoffman, L., & Earnest, K. K. (2020). Heritability of specific language impairment and nonspecific language impairment at ages 4 and 6 years across phenotypes of speech, language, and nonverbal cognition.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(3), 793–813. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00012
  • Rice, M. L., Zubrick, S. R., Taylor, C. L., Gayán, J., & Bontempo, D. E. (2014). Late language emergence in 24-month-old twins: Heritable and increased risk for late language emergence in twins.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57(3), 917–928. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0350)
  • Rice, M. L., Zubrick, S. R., Taylor, C. L., Hoffman, L., & Gayán, J. (2018). Longitudinal study of language and speech of twins at 4 and 6 years: Twinning effects decrease, zygosity effects disappear, and heritability increases.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61(1), 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0366
  • Rimfeld, K., Malanchini, M., Spargo, T., Speckernell, G., Selzam, S., McMillan, A., Dale, P. S., Eley, T. C., & Plomin, R. (2019). Twins early development study: A genetically sensitive investigation into behavioural and cognitive development from infancy to emerging adulthood.Twin Research and Human Genetics, 22(Special Issue 6), 509–513. https://doi.org/10.1017/thg.2019.56
  • Samuelsson, S., Olson, R., Wadswork, S., Corley, R., DeFries, J. C., Willcutt, E., Hulslander, J., & Byrne, B. (2007). Genetic and environmental influences on prereading skills and early reading and spelling development in the United States, Australia, and Scandinavia.Reading and Writing, 20, 51–75. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-006-9018-x
  • Saudino, K. J., Dale, P. S., Oliver, B., Petrill, S. A., Richardson, V., Rutter, M., Simonoff, E., Stevenson, J., & Plomin, R. (1998). The validity of parent-based assessment of the cognitive abilities of 2-year-olds.British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16(3), 349–362. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-835X.1998.tb00757.x
  • Selzam, S., Ritchie, S. J., Pingault, J.-B., Reynolds, C. A., O'Reilly, P. F., & Plomin, R. (2019). Comparing within- and between-family polygenic score prediction.American Journal of Human Genetics, 105(2), 351–363. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.06.006
  • Smith-Woolley, E., Ayorech, Z., Dale, P. S., von Stumm, S., & Plomin, R. (2018). The genetics of university success.Scientific Reports, 8, 14579. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32621-w
  • Snowling, M. J., & Melby-Lervåg, M. (2016). Oral language deficits in familial dyslexia: A meta-analysis and review.Psychological Bulletin, 142(5), 498–545. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000037
  • Steiger, J. H. (1980). Tests for comparing elements of a correlation matrix.Psychological Bulletin, 87(2), 245–251. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.87.2.245
  • Taylor, C. L., Rice, M. L., Christensen, D., Blair, E., & Zubrick, S. R. (2018). Prenatal and perinatal risks for late language emergence in a population-level sample of twins at age 2.BMC Pediatrics, 18, Article No. 41. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-018-1035-9
  • Thorpe, K. (2006). Twin children's language development.Early Human Development, 82(6), 387–395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2006.03.012
  • Torgesen, J. K., Wagner, R. K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1999). Test of Word Reading Efficiency. Pro-Ed.
  • Vilhjálmsson, B. J., Yang, J., Finucane, H. K., Gusev, A., Lindström, S., Ripke, S., Genovese, G., Loh, P.-R., Bhatia, G., Do, R., Hayeck, T., Won, H.-H., Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Discover, Biology, and Risk of Inherited Variants in Breast Cancer (DRIVE) study, Kathiresen, S., Pato, M., Pato, C., Tamimi, R., Stahl, E., … Price, A. L. (2015). Modeling linkage disequilibrium increases accuracy of polygenic risk scores.The American Journal of Human Genetics, 97(4), 576–592. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.09.001
  • von Stumm, S., Smith-Woolley, E., Ayorech, Z., McMillan, A., Rimfeld, K., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (in press). Predicting educational achievement from genomic measures and socioeconomic status.Developmental Science.
  • Weismer, S. E. (2014). Specific language impairment.In L. Cummings (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of communication disorders (pp. 73–87). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139108683.007
  • Wertz, J., Moffitt, T. E., Agnew-Blais, J., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D.W., Corcoran, D. L., Houts, R., Matthews, T., Prinz, J. A., Richmond-Rakerd, L. S., Sugden, K., Williams, B., & Caspi, A. (2019). Using DNA from mothers and children to study parental investment in children's educational attainment.Child Development. Advance Online Publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13329
  • Wiig, E. H., Secord, W., & Sabers, D. (1989). Test of Language Competence–Expanded Edition. Psychological Corporation.
  • Woodcock, R. W., McGrew, K. S., & Mather, N. (2001). Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Riverside.

Additional Resources