Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Kathryn Hillenbrand

Second Advisor

Ann Tyler

Third Advisor

Jan Bedrosian


By age 2, most children have an expressive vocabulary of approximately 200 words and begin to combine these words into meaningful phrases. However, some children acquire expressive language skills more slowly than others while displaying no signs of cognitive, receptive, or sensory delays. These children who experience an expressive language delay are often characterized in the literature as late talkers. Research shows that many of these children have delays early in childhood, but eventually catch up to their typically-developing peers, with no need for language intervention. Others, however, continue to experience expressive delays and. have an increased risk of developing learning problems later in life. Possible predictors of spontaneous recovery have become a relevant and controversial topic in the literature on expressive language delay. This paper provides a review of the literature on expressive language delay, synthesizes the results of several studies to identify five key predictors of spontaneous recover1 of expressive language skills, and presents a checklist for speech-language pathologists to use to provide an educated prognosis for children with expressive language delay.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access