Dynamic Relations Within and Between Early Communication Proficiencies and Key Skill Elements' Growth Trajectories of Infants and Toddlers
Anderson, Rawni Ann
University of Kansas
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Preliteracy experiences inform language learning outcomes in early childhood, of which proficiency in expressive communication is requisite to children’s cognitive and social development. Identification of communication and language delays must be made as early as possible to inform appropriate intervention services targeting prevention of childhood disabilities. The Early Communication Indicator (ECI)—designed to monitor individual progress through brief repeated measurement of early expressive communication—is one of a growing class of general outcome measures emerging in early education and early childhood special education. Comparable to K–12 curriculum–based measures, the ECI is a resource for accountability as well as response to intervention (RTI) efforts. Current implementation applies differential scaling of four key skill elements into a total communication indicator sensitive to increasing proficiency over time. The literature describing observed developmental trajectories of the constituent key skill elements of the total communication indicator provides theoretical and empirical bases for establishing their utility for earlier identification of language delays among infants and toddlers and informing sensitive ages for targeted intervention. The present study applied latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) in order to examine predictive relations within and between ECI key skill elements’ proficiencies and growth, extending previous research limited to the study of early expressive communication development measured by the total communication indicator. Findings support the hypothesis that dynamic relations exist within and between ECI proficiencies and key skill elements’ growth trajectories that may inform benchmarks and decision making related to early intervention in the development of symbolic communication and language. Future directions are discussed.
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