J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2023 Sep 14:1-21. doi: 10.1044/2023_JSLHR-22-00742. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine quality of life (QOL) and its relation to language skills in children with developmental language disorder (DLD). This was examined by comparing QOL to a control group of children with typical development (TD), as well as children with cochlear implants (CIs), who potentially struggle with language for language, although for a different reason than children with DLD.
METHOD: Two groups of children, a group with TD (n = 29) and a group of children with CIs (n = 29), were matched to the DLD group (n = 29) on chronological age, gender, nonverbal IQ, and parental educational level through a propensity matching procedure. A third group consisting of children with CIs was also matched to the DLD group but additionally matched on language abilities. QOL scores were compared across groups, and the association between language skills and QOL was examined in the DLD group.
RESULT: The DLD group was reported by parents to have statistically significantly poorer QOL scores than peers with TD or CIs. When controlling for language skills, either statistically or through an additional CI group matched on language abilities, there were no statistically significant differences in QOL scores across groups. In the DLD group, language skills explained 16% of the variation in QOL.
CONCLUSION: DLD is associated with the children’s overall QOL, and the degree of reduced QOL relates to the severity of the language impairment.