No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article15 Apr 2019

Identifying Children at Risk for Developmental Language Disorder Using a Brief, Whole-Classroom Screen

    Purpose

    The aim of this study was to determine whether parents of children with developmental language disorder (DLD) were aware of their children's language difficulties and whether a brief, classroom-based language screen can reliably identify children at risk for DLD, including those with both good and poor word reading skills.

    Method

    First- and second-grade students (N = 97) completed a language screen and assessments of nonverbal intelligence, word reading, and language designed for linguistically diverse students. Their parents completed a questionnaire.

    Results

    Few parents of children with DLD reported that their child had ever received speech, language, reading, or other educational services. Parents of children with DLD with average word reading skills reported receiving services approximately half as often as children with DLD with poor word reading. Parents of children with DLD also reported few concerns about their children's speech, language, and academic development. The brief whole-classroom screen showed acceptable classification accuracy for identifying children with DLD overall, although sensitivity was lower for children with DLD with average word reading skills.

    Conclusion

    Based on reports of prior services and concerns, many parents of children with DLD appear to be unaware of their children's difficulty with oral language. Whole-classroom screens for language show potential for efficient identification of children who may benefit from comprehensive assessments for DLD without relying on their parents or teachers to raise concerns.

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