Thirty psychotic children (mean age 4.5 years) with severe speech retardation and withdrawal from social relations were examined by a specific language scale we developed. This scale assesses developmental speech level (morphology) and communicativeness (function). Reliability and validity studies measured against more global clinical scales are presented.
The initial examination was compared to a short-term and long-term follow-up language examination. This molecular study of speech behavior shows that psychotic children may be subdivided with respect to retardation (using intelligibility norms) and then further divided into more and less communicative groups. These groupings have a relative stability after the second examination. Retrospective evaluation of factors that effect communicativeness suggests that this instrument can be used to make accurate prognoses at 3.6 years of age rather than at 5 years as formerly presented.