Purpose: Evidence suggests that children present with receptive language skills that are equivalent to or more advanced than expressive language skills. This profile holds true for typical and delayed language development. This study aimed to determine if such a profile existed for preschool children from an area of social deprivation and to investigate if particular language skills influence any differences found between expressive and receptive skills.
Method: Data from 187 CELF P2 UK assessments conducted on preschool children from two socially disadvantaged areas in a city in southern Ireland.
Result: A significant difference was found between Receptive Language Index (RLI) and Expressive Language Index (ELI) scores with Receptive scores found to be lower than Expressive scores. The majority (78.6%) of participants had a lower Receptive Language than Expressive score (RLI < ELI), 18.2% of participants had a higher Receptive score than score (RLI > ELI), with very few (3.2%) having the same Receptive and Expressive scores (RLI = ELI). Scores for the Concepts and Following Directions (receptive) sub-test were significantly lower than for the other receptive sub tests, while scores for the Expressive Vocabulary sub-test were significantly higher than for the other expressive sub tests.
Conclusion: The finding of more advanced expressive than receptive language skills in socially deprived preschool children is previously unreported and clinically relevant for speech-language pathologists in identifying the needs of this population.