Extending Use of the NRT to Preschool-Age Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the Nonword Repetition Test (NRT; Dollaghan & Campbell, 1998) using a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds with and without specific language impairment (SLI) and to evaluate its feasibility for use in universal screening. Method The ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2010
Extending Use of the NRT to Preschool-Age Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patricia Deevy
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Lisa Wisman Weil
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Lisa Goffman
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Patricia Deevy, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, 1353 Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907. E-mail: deevy@purdue.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2010
Extending Use of the NRT to Preschool-Age Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 277-288. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0096)
History: Received August 22, 2008 , Revised January 7, 2009 , Accepted May 25, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 277-288. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0096)
History: Received August 22, 2008; Revised January 7, 2009; Accepted May 25, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the Nonword Repetition Test (NRT; Dollaghan & Campbell, 1998) using a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds with and without specific language impairment (SLI) and to evaluate its feasibility for use in universal screening.

Method The NRT was administered to 29 children with SLI and 47 age-matched children with typical development. Diagnostic accuracy was computed using alternative scoring methods, which treated out-of-inventory phonemes either as errors or as unscorable. To estimate accuracy in a universal screening context, the probability of identifying a child at risk for language impairment was computed using the prevalence of SLI (7%) as the base rate.

Results Diagnostic accuracy was acceptable using both scoring methods. The resulting likelihood ratios (LR+ = 22.66, 19.43; LR− = .05, .05) were similar to those reported for older children. The probability of accurate detection of children with SLI in the general population increased from 7% to 61%. However, this value suggests that many false positives could be expected.

Conclusion The NRT yielded results similar to those reported for older children. However, despite its strengths, the NRT is not sufficient for screening the general population of 4- and 5-year-olds.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The research in this paper was supported in part by Research Grants R01 DC00458 to Laurence Leonard and R01 DC04826 to Lisa Goffman from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We thank the children and families who participated, as well as Abigail Bormann, Rachel Brunner, and Kelsey Pithoud for their assistance during this project.
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