|dc.description.abstract||Background: It is widely accepted that childhood speech and language impairments can have
negative long-term implications for the quality of life of these individuals in adulthood. The
current literature base has explored areas such as long-term language/literacy, education,
employment, social and mental health outcomes. The present study aims to examine the specific
effects of early speech and language difficulties and to determine the extent to which this
impacts upon affected individuals as they transition through young adulthood. It will also
consider the differing outcomes for those with speech impairment relative to those with language
Method: Three databases were systematically searched using specific search terminology to
access articles relevant to the research topic. Articles retrieved went through a process of
screening to remove material that was not deemed suitable for the present study. Ultimately, 14
longitudinal studies were selected for review and detailed discussion.
Results: Overall, the long-term prospects for those with a history of speech-only impairment are
positive, with outcomes being broadly similar to individuals with no history of speech and
language difficulties. On the other hand, those with history of language impairment appear to be
negatively affected to differing degrees in a range of domains. For example, results showed a
general trend towards poorer mental health status, fewer close relationships and difficulty in
maintaining consistent employment.
Conclusion: Definitive conclusions cannot readily be drawn, owing in part to the heterogeneous
nature of populations with speech and/or language impairments. However, results are indicative
of the need for timely input from SLT and education services during childhood, as well as
ongoing support during (and in the years after) the transition from post-compulsory education.
Speech impairments are consistently seen to have fewer long-term negative consequences than