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Predictors of early precocious talking: A prospective population study*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2009

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Speech Pathology Department, Royal Children's Hospital
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Speech Pathology Department, Royal Children's Hospital
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Psychology Department, Royal Children's Hospital, Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne
School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University
Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Address for correspondence: Jemma Skeat, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, 2nd Floor, Gantry Building, RCH, Flemington Road, Parkville, Australia3141.


This study examines potential predictors of ‘precocious talking’ (expressive language ⩾90th percentile) at one and two years of age, and of ‘stability’ in precocious talking across both time periods, drawing on data from a prospective community cohort comprising over 1,800 children. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between precocious talking and the following potential predictors: gender, birth order, birth weight, non-English speaking background, socioeconomic status, maternal age, maternal mental health scores, and vocabulary and educational attainment of parents. The strongest predictors of precocity (being female and having a younger mother) warrant further exploration. Overall, however, it appears that precocity in early vocabulary development is not strongly influenced by the variables examined, which together explained just 2·6% and 1% of the variation at 1 ; 0 and 2 ; 0 respectively.

Brief Research Report
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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The ELVS study is supported by Project Grant 237106 from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and small grants from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University. Authors JS and OCU each hold a NHMRC training fellowship (Capacity Building Grant in Population Health # 436914). Ethical approval for the study was obtained from Human Research Ethics Committees at the Royal Children's Hospital (#23081) and La Trobe University (#03-32).



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