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.

Abstract:

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.