Article  |   January 2012
Dynamic Assessment of Word Learning Skills: Identifying Language Impairment in Bilingual Children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maria Kapantzoglou
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • M. Adelaida Restrepo
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Marilyn S. Thompson
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Associate Editor: Gary Troia
    Associate Editor: Gary Troia×
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Correspondence to Maria Kapantzoglou: mkapantz@asu.edu
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions
Article   |   January 2012
Dynamic Assessment of Word Learning Skills: Identifying Language Impairment in Bilingual Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools January 2012, Vol.43, 81-96. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0095)
History: Accepted 03 Jul 2011 , Received 29 Oct 2010 , Revised 09 Feb 2011
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools January 2012, Vol.43, 81-96. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0095)
History: Accepted 03 Jul 2011 , Received 29 Oct 2010 , Revised 09 Feb 2011

Purpose: Bilingual children are often diagnosed with language impairment, although they may simply have fewer opportunities to learn English than English-speaking monolingual children. This study examined whether dynamic assessment (DA) of word learning skills is an effective method for identifying bilingual children with primary language impairment (PLI).

Method: Fifteen 4- and 5-year-old predominantly Spanish-speaking children with typical language development (TLD) and 13 with PLI each participated in a 30- to 40-min session of DA of word learning skills following a pretest–teach–posttest design.

Results: Results indicated that TLD children made associations between the phonological and semantic representations of the new words faster than children with PLI did, showing greater modifiability. Further, a combination of word learning in the receptive modality and the Learning Strategies Checklist (Lidz, 1991; Peña, 1993) provided the best accuracy in identifying PLI in these children.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that a brief DA is a promising method for accurately differentiating children with TLD from children with PLI.

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