Article/Report  |   August 2007
The Discriminant Accuracy of a Grammatical Measure With Latino English-Speaking Children
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Vera F. Gutiérrez-Clellen, School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1518. E-mail: vclellen@mail.sdsu.edu.
  • © 2007 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language
Article/Report   |   August 2007
The Discriminant Accuracy of a Grammatical Measure With Latino English-Speaking Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2007, Vol. 50, 968-981. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/068)
History: Received October 20, 2005 , Revised May 8, 2006 , Accepted October 5, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2007, Vol. 50, 968-981. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/068)
History: Received October 20, 2005; Revised May 8, 2006; Accepted October 5, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Purpose: To evaluate the discriminant accuracy of a grammatical measure for the identification of language impairment (LI) in Latino English-speaking children. Specifically, the study examined the diagnostic accuracy of the Test of English Morphosyntax (E-MST; Peña, Gutiérrez-Clellen, Iglesias, Goldstein, & Bedore (n.d.)  to determine (a) whether use and exposure to Spanish had an effect on the performance of bilingual children compared with monolingual Latino children and (b) whether dialectal differences within Latino English speakers might result in performance differences and a greater incidence of misclassifications for children from Caribbean English backgrounds.

Method: One hundred and eleven children (i.e., 59 children with typical language development and 52 children with LI) were sampled from the Southwest and Northeast regions of the U.S. Southwestern children were of Mexican origin. Children from the Northeast were from Puerto Rican or Dominican backgrounds. Linear discriminant analyses evaluating group classifications on the basis of the E-MST were performed on exploratory and confirmatory data sets across 3 groups: Southwestern English-only proficient (SW EP) children, Southwestern English-dominant bilingual (SW EDB) children, and Northeastern (NE) children.

Results: Results of the exploratory discriminant analyses indicated good sensitivity for the SW EP children. The discriminant functions derived from the exploratory analysis were able to predict group membership in confirmatory discriminant analyses with fair sensitivity and good specificity for the SW EDB children and with fair sensitivity but poor specificity for the NE children. Children who were English-dominant bilingual were not more likely to be misclassified compared with their English-only proficient peers. However, nonmainstream English dialect differences appeared to affect classification accuracy and resulted in a greater number of misclassifications for the NE children with typical language development.

Conclusion: The measure seems to be suitable for identifying LI in SW children who are exposed to Spanish and/or who are English-dominant bilingual. Additional assessment tools will be needed to rule out the disorder in children who are exposed to African American or Caribbean English dialects.

Acknowledgments
This project was partially supported by Grant 1-DC-8-2100 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and by Grant 5 R25 GM58906-06 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences San Diego State University Minority Biomedical Research Support Program. We are grateful to Lisa Bedore, Janet Calderón, Brian Goldstein, Aquiles Iglesias, Ellen Stubbe Kester, and Elizabeth Peña for their invaluable assistance with many phases of the data collection. We would also like to extend our thanks to Darrell Sabers for his expert advice in test development and to Lorena Cataño for her help with data management and analysis.
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