Identifying Language Comprehension Impairment in Preschool Children Purpose This study examined the validity of 3 discourse comprehension measures for preschool children and the ability of a combination of them to classify children with and without language impairment. Method Thirty-seven children with typical language and 12 children with language impairment completed 3 measures of oral story ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 2008
Identifying Language Comprehension Impairment in Preschool Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle
    University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Lynn Dempsey
    University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Christopher Lee
    University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Contact author: Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Elborn College, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6G 1H1. E-mail: eskaraki@uwo.ca.
  • Lynn Dempsey is now at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
    Lynn Dempsey is now at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 2008
Identifying Language Comprehension Impairment in Preschool Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 54-65. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/006)
History: Received October 3, 2006 , Revised February 22, 2007 , Accepted May 11, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 54-65. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/006)
History: Received October 3, 2006; Revised February 22, 2007; Accepted May 11, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose This study examined the validity of 3 discourse comprehension measures for preschool children and the ability of a combination of them to classify children with and without language impairment.

Method Thirty-seven children with typical language and 12 children with language impairment completed 3 measures of oral story comprehension: the Joint Story Retell task, the Expectancy Violation Detection task, and comprehension questions.

Results Discriminant analyses revealed that each measure successfully classified pre-identified groups. The clinical combination of all 3 measures resulted in 96% accurate identification of the language status of this cohort.

Conclusion Results support these procedures as valid measures of discourse comprehension and monitoring and provide preliminary evidence that their combination can be validly employed for identifying young children with language comprehension impairment.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by grants from the Toronto Hospital for Sick Kids Foundation Grant XG01-081 and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care—Children with Special Needs Branch. We are indebted to the late Siobhan Wooton for her contributions, without which this work could not have been conducted. We express our appreciation to Joselynne Jaques for her multiple contributions as project manager and to Melanie Beaudin, Sarah Pifher, and Brooke Thornton for their assistance with data collection and analysis. We are also grateful to Linda Milosky and Wenonah Campbell for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Finally, we extend gratitude to the children, parents, and clinicians who participated or otherwise assisted in this study. Portions of this manuscript were presented at the Symposium on Research in Children Language Disorders (SRCLD) in June 2004, Madison, Wisconsin.
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