No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchReview Article3 Aug 2023

Developmental Language Disorder and Writing: A Scoping Review From Childhood to Adulthood


    The purpose of this study was to conduct a scoping review of literature focused on the effects of developmental language disorder (DLD) on writing skills across the life span to highlight gaps in our knowledge of how to support writing for this population.


    We adopted the five-step framework for conducting scoping reviews outlined by Arksey and O'Malley (2005) to identify literature focused on writing outcomes for individuals with DLD in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.


    Seventy-two studies from 1991 to 2022 met review criteria. Results indicated that spelling may be an area of relative weakness for individuals with DLD across the life span. Children and adolescents with DLD also may have relative difficulty with grammar, organization, cohesion, and length of written output. Research on the writing skills of adults with DLD is too sparse to draw broad conclusions about the writing skills of this subset of the population with DLD.


    Overall, research into the writing skills of individuals with DLD is limited, and more information is needed to inform functional evidence-based approaches to assessment and intervention of writing for those with DLD from childhood through adulthood. Additionally, more focus on electronic writing in research is needed, as only two studies included in this review examined typed writing in any form. Results of this review also indicate a need for systematic, uniform approaches to defining and measuring writing skills for those who experience language difficulties.

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