Expectations of the transition to secondary school in children with Developmental Language Disorder

Sheila Gough-Kenyon, Rebecca M. Lucas, Olympia Palikara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A successful transition from primary to secondary school for typically developing (TD) children is associated with academic and psychosocial outcomes. Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) tend to have pervasive needs in both of these domains, yet little is known about their experience of this transition. We have no information concerning the transition for children with low language (LL).

Aim: (1) To explore the expectations of the transition to primary school for children with DLD, children with LL proficiency, and their TD peers; (2) to examine the predictors of transition concerns for each group.

Sample: Children aged 10-11 in the final year of primary school with DLD (n = 30), LL (n = 29), or TD (n = 48) were recruited from eight UK primary schools in the summer term.

Methods: A battery of standardized language and psychosocial assessments, including the School Concerns Questionnaire (SCQ; Rice et al. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 2011, 244), was administered.

Results: The TD group had significantly lower levels of school concern than DLD and LL groups while DLD and LL groups did not significantly differ. Scholastic competence predicted overall concerns of children with DLD; social competence predicted TD overall concerns; and no variables predicted overall concerns of children with LL. Exploration of school concern subfactors highlighted the importance of emotion recognition for all groups and social competence for children with LL.

Conclusions: Results indicate that school provision to facilitate a successful transition may most usefully target different areas depending on pupils' language level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249
Number of pages265
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this