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Early Language and Conversation Linked to Language Skills and IQ in School-Age Children


A Pediatrics study found that children ages 18-to 24-months who engaged in conversation and were spoken to by adults benefited during their school-age years with better language and cognition skills. The study, “Language Experience in the Second Year of Life and Language Outcomes in Late Childhood,” will be published in the October 2018 issue of Pediatrics (published online Sept. 10). Conversational turn-taking between the ages of 18-24 months accounted for 14 percent to 27 percent of the higher performance in IQ, verbal comprehension, and receptive and expressive vocabulary scores, after controlling for socioeconomic factors.  Researchers audio-recorded the adult words and adult-child conversations of 146 infants and toddlers for one day each month for six months. Using LENA technology and software, they followed up by evaluating the children with language and cognitive testing at ages 9 through 14 years. The authors conclude that there is a need for early intervention programs that support parents to create the best early language environment for children. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds