Note: I would like to do regular research reviews here; however, I am trying to find the best way to present it. Often, when I read research reviews, my eyes glaze over 90% of what the reviewer is saying. This is not necessarily true when I read the articles themselves (I tend to digest every word). I am starting off with more of a bare-bones, get to the point approach… we’ll see how it goes. This will be an ongoing process as I figure out what works and what doesn’t. Feedback is always appreciated!
Associations Between Toddler-Age Communication and Kindergarten-Age Self-Regulatory Skills
Full citation following post.
I get really excited when my inbox pings with a new issue of an ASHA journal. My eyes skim the headlines, noting which I want to read immediately. I was beyond excited when I saw this title.
I have a dedicated interest in the relationship between sensory and communication development. I am 3/4 through my SIPT certification, and love reading about how sensory development can inform our practice. I therefore saw the word “regulatory” and downloaded the PDF immediately.
I was disappointed at first by the lack of discussion regarding the relationship between sensory systems and self-regulation (the authors define self-regulation in broader terms). I then got over it and got excited about their discussion regarding executive function and emotional regulation. So, let’s get into the article.
Why is this article important?
- Communication does not develop independently of other systems. Language, cognitive, motor and sensory systems all intertwine and compliment each other. This article inherently supports this and contributes to the bank of literature on how these systems interact.
- It shows a positive correlation between toddlers with a more broad development delay and those with an expressive delay and later self-regulatory skills (Kindergarten age), as compared to typically developing children.
- Interestingly, it showed that children with an expressive-only delay were rated to have more executive and regulatory difficulties than the children with a more global delay.
How does this contribute to clinical practice?
- We should be continually monitoring executive function, emotional, and social development alongside language development as soon as kids start treatment. These were toddlers!
- Upon discharge, we need to inform caregivers of what they should monitor and what is typical vs. atypical.
- We need to collaborate with other professionals in order to provide holistic treatment in all of these areas.
What are the limitations of this study?
- The sample size could be bigger. However, it is nothing to scoff at in this case. 185 children were part of the data set, which means the investigators had all of their toddler data and that the parents also returned the questionnaire when their child was in Kindergarten. This is from an original sample of 508. The disparity is due to the number of data points the authors wanted (several points of data from various ages in the toddler years along with the Kindergarten data). Despite the always-present limitations of the “Were the parents that returned the questionnaires inherently different than those who didn’t?” question, I am still pretty satisfied with that sample size. I do love a good longitudinal study.
- They primarily used parent questionnaires.
- Correlation does not imply causation.
Overall, I think this is worth a read (it’s available to all ASHA members).
Aro, T., Laakso, M., Maatta, S., Tolvanen, A., & Poikkeus, A. (2014). Associations Between Toddler-Age Communication and Kindergarten-Age Self-Regulatory Skills. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57, 1405-1417.
P.S. I hope you all have a great week at work, especially those who are starting back in the schools this week (although I am quite jealous of your summer off!).