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The impact on socio-emotional development and quality of life of language impairment in 8-year-old children.

AIM: To estimate the impact of different types of language disorders on socio-emotional development and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in 8-year-old children.

METHOD: In a prospective cohort including 13 427 newborns, of 10 911 eligible children (66 excluded because of intellectual disability or foreign language, 2448 lost to follow-up due to house moves, refusal, death or other reasons) written consent was obtained from the parents of 6051 then 8-year-old children (55%). Questionnaires, completed by the parents of 4745 children (2323 males, 2412 females) and the teachers of 4771 children (2360 males, 2411 females), included validated measures to define type of language disorder and to assess socio-emotional development and HRQOL.

RESULTS: In 377 (8.2%) children, speech/language disorders were identified. Children with receptive language disorders had more unfavourable scores for extraversion (9.7, 99% CI 9.3-10.1, p=0.006), school attitude (7.8, 99% CI 7.4-8.2; p<0.001), agreeableness (9.1, 99% CI 8.6-9.6, p<0.001; normal ranges 7-13), and quality of life (49.6, 99% CI 48.8-51.0, p<0.001; normal range 40-60), as compared to children without these disorders. Pragmatic disorders and suspected autism were associated with the most unfavourable scores, for school attitude 8.1 (99% CI 6.9-9.3, p<0.001) and 7.5 (99% CI 6.1-8.9, p=0.002), and for quality of life 42.9 (99% CI 40.3-45.5, p<0.001) and 36.2 (99% CI 30.0-42.4, p<0.001).

INTERPRETATION: Language impairment at school age has a large impact on children's behaviour and daily life.

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