King's College London

Research portal

‘Illusory recovery’: Are recovered children with early language delay at continuing elevated risk?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Philip S. Dale, Andrew J. Mcmillan, Marianna E. Hayiou-thomas, Robert Plomin

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology
Early online date1 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


King's Authors


Purpose: To examine the later development of language and literacy of children who had delayed language at 2 but were in the normal range at 4.

Method: Longitudinal data were analyzed from 3598 pairs of twins participating in the Twins Early Development Study. 633 twins (8.8%) were delayed at 2 based on parent-reported expressive vocabulary, and of these 373 (59.0%) were classified as ‘recovered’ based on 4 year measures. Each recovered 4 year old was matched on vocabulary, gender and zygosity to another 4 year old without a history of early delay.

Results: Although the recovered group was below the mean for the total TEDS sample on measures of language at 7 and 12, there were no significant differences between the recovered and matched groups. Within the recovered group, it was not possible to predict outcome at better than a chance level.

Conclusions: Children who appear to have recovered by 4 from early delay are at modest risk for continuing difficulties, but this appears to be no higher than the risk for other 4-year-olds with equivalent scores, reflecting the continuing variability in longitudinal outcome after 4. All children in the low normal range at 4 merit continuing monitoring.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454