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Heritable risk factors associated with language impairments
Article first published online: 13 APR 2006
2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Genes, Brain and Behavior
Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 66–76, February 2007
How to Cite
Barry, J. G., Yasin, I. and Bishop, D. V. M. (2007), Heritable risk factors associated with language impairments. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 6: 66–76. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2006.00232.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2006
- Received 25 November 2005, revised 20 February 2006, accepted for publication 23 February 2006
- Nonword repetition;
- risk factors;
- specific language impairment
There is a strong genetic contribution to children’s language and literacy impairments. The aim of this study was to determine which aspects of the phenotype are familial by comparing 34 parents of probands with language/literacy impairments and 33 parents of typically developing probands. The parents responded to questionnaires regarding previous history for language/reading impairment and participated in psychometric testing. The psychometric test battery consisted of tests assessing non-verbal IQ, short-term memory, articulation, receptive grammar, reading abilities and spelling. Self-report measures demonstrated a higher prevalence of language and literacy impairments in parents of affected probands (32%) compared with parents of unaffected probands (6%). The two groups of parents differed significantly in their performance on the non-word repetition, oromotor and digit span tasks. Non-word repetition gave the best discrimination between the parent groups even when the data from the parents who actually were impaired as ascertained by direct testing or self-report were removed from the analyses. This suggests that non-word repetition serves as a marker of a family risk for language impairment. The paper concludes with a discussion of issues associated with ascertainment of specific language impairment (SLI).