Journal Article

Family aggregation of language impairment in an isolated Chilean population from the Robinson Crusoe Island


Background: It has been reported that the inhabitants of the Chilean Robinson Crusoe Island have an increased frequency of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) or Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Aims: In this paper, we aim to explore the familial aggregation of DLD in this community. Methods & procedures: We assessed the frequency of DLD amongst colonial children between the ages of 3 years and 8 years, 11 months (50 individuals from 45 nuclear families). Familial aggregation rates of language-disorder were calculated by assessing all available first-degree relatives (n= 107, 77 parents, 25 siblings, 5 half-siblings) of the probands. Outcomes & results: We found that 71% of the child population performed significantly below expected in measures of phonological production or expressive and receptive morphology. The majority of these children presented with severe expressive and/or receptive language difficulties. A quarter of language disordered probands primarily had phonological difficulties. Family members of affected probands, experienced a higher risk of language-disorder than those of typically-developing probands. This increased risk was apparent regardless of nonverbal IQ. Conclusions & implications: Our study substantiates the existence of a familial form of speech and language disorder on the Robinson Crusoe Island. Furthermore, we find that the familiality is stable regardless of non-verbal IQ, supporting the recent movement to reduce the importance of nonverbal IQ criterion in DLD diagnoses.

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De Barbieri, Zulema
Fernandez, Maria Angelica
Newbury, Dianne F.
Villanueva, Pia

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-01-23

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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