Very Early Processing Skills (VEPS)
The VEPS project is about the early identification of children with language impairment, social communication problems, or both. Our participants were children referred to clinical services with concerns about language at 2½-3½ years, and seen again at 4-5 years and 9-11 years. Our key question was whether very early processing skills (VEPS) that are known to underpin language and social communication, and normally emerge in the first year of life, would be informative about longer-term outcomes in these children. We developed two new measures of these early skills:
- The Preschool Repetition Test, assessing children's phonological processing and memory
- The Early Sociocognitive Battery, assessing children's sociocognitive skills (social responsiveness, joint attention, and symbolic comprehension).
To find out how our participants performed on these tests, and how this related to their language and social communication in the early and late primary school years, see reports of our results in Chiat & Roy 2008 and 2013.
Read more about the project assessments and how to access these.
Shula Chiat is Professor of Child Language in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London.She has carried out research on typical language development and on speech and language problems in children since the 1980s. She is author of Understanding Children with Language Problems, joint author of Linguistics for Clinicians and joint editor of Making New Connections. From 2000 to 2005, Shula was in the Department of Human Communication Science at University College London, where the VEPS study was originally based. She is a member of Afasic and was on the Management Committee of the North East London Afasic Youth Project for over 10 years.
Penny Roy is Professor in Early Development in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London. Qualified as a developmental and educational psychologist, her clinical and research interests focus on the effects of early deprivation on psychosocial functioning and educational achievement. Alongside a longstanding research involvement at the Institute of Psychiatry, she has collaborated in wide-ranging research on early language skills and in the development of preschool assessments. She was responsible for the standardisation of a parental report measure of early language development. She taught developmental psychology on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at City for many years.
The VEPS project has been funded by two Economic and Social Research Council grants: Award number RES-000-23-0019 (2002-6) and Award Number RES-000-22-4093 (2010-11).
Chiat, S. & Roy, P. (2013). Early predictors of language and social communication impairments at 9-11 years: A follow-up study of early-referred children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 1824-36.
Chiat, S. & Roy, P. (2008). Early phonological and sociocognitive skills as predictors of later language and social communication outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 635-645.
Chiat, S. & Roy, P. (2007). The Preschool Repetition Test: An evaluation of performance in typically developing and clinically referred children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 429-443.
Roy, P. & Chiat, S. (2004). A prosodically controlled word and nonword repetition task for 2- to 4-year-olds: Evidence from typically developing children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 223-234.
Roy, P. & Chiat, S. (2008). Beyond outcomes: The importance of developmental pathways. In V. Joffe, M. Cruice, & S. Chiat (Eds.), Language Disorders in Children and Adults: New Issues in Research and Practice. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley.
Seeff-Gabriel, B., Chiat, S., & Roy, P. (2008). The Early Repetition Battery. London: Pearson Assessment.
Seeff-Gabriel, B., Chiat, S., & Roy, P. (2010). More to repetition than meets the ear: Use of imitation tests in preschool language assessment. RCSLT Bulletin, May 2010.
Chiat, S. & Roy, P. (2003). What lies ahead for late language learners? Afasic News, Autumn 2003, 8-9.
September 2013: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. Invited presentation at one-day conference on 'Developmental language disorders - linguistic and cognitive characteristics', University of Copenhagen. 'What does the Early Sociocognitive Battery (ESB) tell us about later language and social communication difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders?'
November 2011: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. Keynote address at Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists Biennial Conference 'Fresh Talk; Food for Thought', Dublin. 'Do selective processing skills at 2-3 predict language, social communication and literacy at 10? Evidence from a follow-up study of clinically referred children'.
July 2011: Seeff-Gabriel, B., Chiat, S., & Roy, P. Invited presentation to 'Early Years Speech, Language and Communication Conference' organised by Pearson Assessment for 'Hello' Campaign. 'Early years language assessment/ERB'.
May 2010: Chiat, S. & Roy, P. Keynote address at COST Action Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment: Second MC & WGs Meeting, Newcastle, UK (Talk). 'The Preschool Repetition Test: Evidence of typically developing and clinic samples in the UK'.
June 2007: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. Invited keynote presentation at the Forum for Speech and Language Therapists Working in Early Years Settings. 'Pre-school indicators to help the identification of persistent problems and the nature of these'.
July 2006: Chiat, S. & Roy, P. Invited keynote presentation at the Child Language Seminar, Newcastle upon Tyne. 'SLI: Reversing the developmental trajectory'.
July 2006: Roy, P & Chiat, S. Invited presentation at the Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Early Development and Communication, Zadar, Croatia, organized by the Department of Speech and Language Pathology (Univ.of Zagreb), Croatian Logopedics Association, Croatian Psychological Association and the Academy for Developmental Rehabilitation. 'Precursors of language as predictors of later language disorders'.
March 2005: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. 'Speech, Language and Communication Needs: Current Trends in Theory and Practice': conference organised by the National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children, University of Warwick. 'Very early processing skills as predictors of later language disorders'.
March 2003: Chiat, S. & Roy, P. 'Dysphasie et autres troubles: diversité, interdisciplinarité': conference organised by the Association Nationale des Communautés Educatives, Paris. 'Troubles sévères du langage et dysphasies: spécificité des troubles et diagnostic précoce'.
June 2012: Shula Chiat hosted City Research Event 'Understanding preschool language problems: New measures, new evidence', including: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. 'Early phonological and sociocognitive skills as predictors of language and social communication at 10-11 years'.
July 2011: Chiat, S., Dohmen, A., Polisenska, K., Roy, P., Seeff-Gabriel, B. Symposium presented at the 12th Congress of the International Association for the Study of Child Language, Montreal. 'The power of elicited imitation: New insights from typically developing children, socially disadvantaged children, and children with SLI'.
April 2011: Chiat, S., Dohmen, A., Marton, K., Roy, P., Seeff-Gabriel, B. Symposium presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal. Elicited imitation: A window into typical and atypical language development'.
July 2007: Roy, P., Seeff-Gabriel, B., & Chiat, S. Conference presentation, Child Language Seminar, University of Reading. 'Theoretical and clinical implications of early word-nonword and sentence repetition: Evidence from the Early Repetition Battery'
April 2007: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. Conference presentation, Afasic 4th International Symposium, University of Warwick. 'Origins and outcomes for children referred with concerns about language at 2-3 years'.
July 2005: Roy, P. & Chiat, S. Conference presentation, X International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Berlin. 'Precursors of language as predictors: Development and evaluation of a set of language-independent assessments for 2-3 year olds'.
April 2005: Chiat, S. & Roy, P. Poster presented at the 2005 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, USA. 'A novel assessment of symbolic understanding: evidence from typical and clinically referred preschoolers'.
July 2003: Chiat, S., Roy, P., Kaperoni, R. & Barry, T. Poster presented at the Child Language Seminar, Newcastle upon Tyne. 'Very early processing skills as predictors of later language disorders'.