The purpose of this study was to empirically determine whether specific profiles characterize preschool-aged children with language impairment (LI) with respect to their early literacy skills (print awareness, name-writing ability, phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge); the primary interest was to determine if one or more profiles suggested vulnerability for future reading problems. Participants were 218 children enrolled in early childhood special education classrooms, 95% of whom received speech-language services. Children were administered an assessment of early literacy skills in the fall of the academic year. Based on results of latent profile analysis, four distinct literacy profiles were identified, with the single largest profile (55% of children) representing children with generally poor literacy skills across all areas examined. Children in the two low-risk categories had higher oral language skills than those in the high-risk and moderate-risk profiles. Across three of the four early literacy measures, children with language as their primary disability had higher scores than those with LI concomitant with other disabilities. These findings indicate that there are specific profiles of early literacy skills among children with LI, with about one half of children exhibiting a profile indicating potential susceptibility for future reading problems.
Justice, Laura, Logan, Jessica, Kaderavek, Joan, Schmitt, Mary Beth, Thompkins, Virginia, and Bartlett, Christopher. Empirically Based Profiles of the Early Literacy Skills of Children With Language Impairment in Early Childhood Special Education. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48, 482-494.