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Anne Fernald, Virginia A. Marchman and Adriana Weisleder SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months Developmental Science 16

Version of Record online: 8 DEC 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12019

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This longitudinal study examined developmental changes in language proficiency in a diverse group of English-learning infants from higher- and lower-SES families. Significant SES differences in both vocabulary and real-time language processing efficiency were already evident at age 18 months. By 24 months of age there was a 6-month gap between SES groups in processing skills critical to language development. Such a large disparity cannot simply be dismissed as a transitory delay, given that differences in trajectories of language growth established by 3 years of age tend to persist and are predictive of later school success or failure.

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