The relationship between oral-motor skills at 2 years, vocabulary production and later articulation skills.
Bidgood, A., McLaughlin, P., Durrant, S., Peter, M., Pine, J., & Rowland, C. (2018). The relationship between oral-motor skills at 2 years, vocabulary production and later articulation skills. Paper presented at the Child Language Symposium, Reading, UK.
The development of motor skills in the form of gestures has long been linked with language development (e.g. Bates et al., 1979; McGillion et al., 2017). However, the role of oral-motor skills in language development has not been investigated to the same extent (Alcock, 2006). In the current study, we present data from the longitudinal Language 0-5 Project. 80 children were tested for oral-motor skills at 25 months. A year later, the completed a standardised test of oral-motor skills and articulation. Oral-motor scores at 25 months do not predict either oral-motor or articulation skills at 36 months, suggesting that the development of oral-motor skills does not follow the same path for all children. However, oral-motor skills at 25 months do appear to play a role in vocabulary production: children's oral-motor scores significantly predict the size of their expressive vocabulary, at the same age, even after taking their receptive vocabulary into account (p = .02). This suggests that children's oral-motor skills may go some way to explaining the variance in the difference between vocabulary comprehension and production at 2 years.