Precursors of reading delay: Neurodevelopmental milestones

B. K. Shapiro, F. B. Palmer, S. Antell, S. B. Bilker, A. Ross, A. J. Capute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The relationship between current reading ability and the achievement of early language and motor developmental milestones was evaluated in 240 children, aged 7 1/2 years, whose language and motor achievement has been charted at each well baby visit during the first 2 years of life. Those children whose composite reading score was 6 months behind their chronologic age on the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery were classified as having reading delay. Relationships to reading outcome were assessed for individual infant milestones, for critical screening values, and by statistical techniques that characterized the developmental process rather than single milestones. Significant differences (P < .05) were noted between children with and without reading delays for the following milestones: 4 to 6 words, 7 to 20 words, 50 words, 2-word sentences, and 5 and 8 body parts. The positive predictive value of slower milestone achievement ranged from 0% to 50%. Techniques that focused on the developmental process during the first 2 years (either rate of achievement of neurodevelopmental milestones or order of milestone acquisition) were better able to classify children with reading delay (sensitivity = .73, specificity = .78). Although the language milestone measures did not classify children sufficiently well to be diagnostic, the data served to determine whether a child would be at high risk based on performance rather than historical factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-420
Number of pages5
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


  • language development
  • motor development
  • reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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