SRCLD 2022 SRCLD Presentation Details
    An Individual Differences Approach to Early Identification of Clinically-Significant Language Disorders  
Donna J. Thal - SDSU/UCSD

SRCLD Year: 2009
Presentation Type: Invited Speaker
Presentation Time: (na)
Liz Bates was a pioneer in the study of individual differences in language acquisition and in the development of measures for assessing early language development. Her work was the foundation for my studies of late-talking toddlers. Using her studies of individual differences in rate of development and dissociations between components of language, I conducted a prospective, longitudinal study of a large number of children from 10-months to 7 years of age. The goal was to predict clinically-significant language delay as early as possible. At the younger ages the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories were used to measure expressive and receptive vocabulary, use of gestures, and early grammar. Between 5 and 7 years of age clinical diagnosis of language disorder was identified and documented. Between 10-months and 7 years many additional measures of language, cognition, and family history were collected. In this talk I will describe this 10+ year study and suggest a model for early identification of clinically-significant language delay. I will also discuss the differences between and the pros and cons of categorical, dimensional, and individual differences approaches to early identification of clinically-significant language disorders.
Author Biosketch(es)

Dr. Donna Thal is Professor Emerita in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University and Research Psychologist at the Center for Research in Language at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Thal holds the M.S. degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and the Ph.D. degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Her postdoctoral work was carried out under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Bates at the UCSD Center for Research in Language (1985-1988). Dr. Thal is a developmental psycholinguist and a certified speech-language pathologist who has conducted research in a number of areas including normal and disordered development of language and cognition, studies of children with focal brain injury and studies of children with delayed onset of language. She has also carried out studies of language development in Spanish-speaking infants and toddlers. Her most recent work focuses on early identification of risk for clinically significant language impairment and is funded by RO1 grant from the NIH National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders. She currently serves as the language consultant on a multi-center longitudinal grant focused on the development of deaf children following cochlear implant that is funded by the NIH National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders. Dr. Thal is and ASHA Fellow. She has also been an editorial consultant for language for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research and the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. She was the California State nominee for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Outstanding Clinical Achievement Award in 1996, received the Monty Distinguished Faculty Award from San Diego State University 1998, the Albert W. Johnson Research Lecturer Award from SDSU in 1999, and was the Wang Family Excellence Award nominee from SDSU in 2000. She served a 4 year term on the Communicative Disorders Review Committee for the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders from 1998-2002. Dr. Thal is a member of the CDI Advisory Board and is a co-author of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories and the MacArthur Inventarios del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas.