Clinical and Research Congruence in Identifying Children With Specific Language Impairment This paper reports on the results of a large multicenter project designed to develop an empirically based classification of preschool children with language impairments. A clinically selected population of 252 children with specific language impairments (SLI) was used to evaluate the reliability, coverage, and usefulness of both standard clinical and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1993
Clinical and Research Congruence in Identifying Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dorothy M. Aram
    Emerson College Boston, MA
  • Robin Morris
    Georgia State University Atlanta
  • Nancy E. Hall
    Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland, OH
  • Contact author: Dorothy M. Aram, PhD, Division of Communication Disorders, Emerson College, 168 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1993
Clinical and Research Congruence in Identifying Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1993, Vol. 36, 580-591. doi:10.1044/jshr.3603.580
History: Received April 24, 1992 , Accepted December 2, 1992
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1993, Vol. 36, 580-591. doi:10.1044/jshr.3603.580
History: Received April 24, 1992; Accepted December 2, 1992

This paper reports on the results of a large multicenter project designed to develop an empirically based classification of preschool children with language impairments. A clinically selected population of 252 children with specific language impairments (SLI) was used to evaluate the reliability, coverage, and usefulness of both standard clinical and research definitions of such children. Varying degrees of congruence were found between the clinically identified children with SLI and those identified as SLI using discrepancy, deficit, and standardized operational criteria. Such mismatch between the original clinical identification and more standardized operational criteria may be related to different clinical perspectives, professional training, and limited assessment measures. These results suggest that there is a significant gulf between the clinical diagnosis of children with specific language impairment and more standardized operational criteria. It is suggested that the global concept of a “specific language impairment” may not be a useful concept for either clinical or research activities.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by NIH grant NS 20489, “Nosology of Higher Cerebral Function Disorders in Children.”
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