The use of spontaneous language measures as criteria for identifying children with specific language impairment: An attempt to reconcile clinical and research incongruence

Michelle Dunn, Judith Flax, Martin Sliwinski, Dorothy Aram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Criteria for identification of children as specifically language impaired (SLI) vary greatly among clinicians and researchers. Standardized psychometric discrepancy criteria are more restrictive and perhaps less sensitive to language impairment than is clinical judgment based on a child's language performance in naturalistic contexts. This paper examines (a) differences in groups of preschool children clinically diagnosed as SLI who were and were not identified as SLI through standard psychometric discrepancy criteria, and (b) the validity of quantitative measures of mean length of utterance (MLU), syntax, and pragmatics derived from a spontaneous language sample as criteria for discriminating clinically diagnosed preschoolers from normally developing preschoolers. Spontaneous language data indicated that children clinically identified as SLI produced a significantly higher percentage of errors in spontaneous speech than normal children whether they met psychometric discrepancy criteria or not. Logistic regression analysis indicated that a combination of MLU, percent structural errors, and chronological age was the optimal subset of variables useful for predicting a clinical diagnosis of SLI. This combined criterion captured a larger proportion of the clinically identified SLI children than even the best psychometric discrepancy criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-654
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The use of spontaneous language measures as criteria for identifying children with specific language impairment: An attempt to reconcile clinical and research incongruence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this