An Assessment Battery for Identifying Language Impairments in African American Children This investigation compares the performances of 24 African American children, diagnosed as language impaired (LI) and receiving school-based language therapy, to 2 groups of typically developing peers (N= 48) on 5 traditional types of language assessment measures. Three of the measures were derived from child-centered free play language sample analyses ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2000
An Assessment Battery for Identifying Language Impairments in African American Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
  • Julie A. Washington
    University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: hkc@umich.edu
  • Contact author: Holly K. Craig, PhD, University of Michigan, 1111 E. Catherine St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2054. Email: hkc@umich.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2000
An Assessment Battery for Identifying Language Impairments in African American Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 366-379. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.366
History: Received November 12, 1998 , Accepted September 15, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 366-379. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.366
History: Received November 12, 1998; Accepted September 15, 1999

This investigation compares the performances of 24 African American children, diagnosed as language impaired (LI) and receiving school-based language therapy, to 2 groups of typically developing peers (N= 48) on 5 traditional types of language assessment measures. Three of the measures were derived from child-centered free play language sample analyses and included average length of communication units (MLCU), frequencies of complex syntax, and numbers of different words. Two of the measures examined language comprehension and included responses to requests for information in the form of Wh-questions and responses to probes of active and passive sentence constructions. The performances of the group of children with language impairments were significantly lower on each measure than that of chronological age matched African American children who were typically developing. Sensitivity and specificity of the battery appeared excellent. The findings are discussed in terms of the potential of these informal language measures to contribute to a culturally fair assessment protocol for young African American children.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by Research Grant 1 RO1 DC 02313–01A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication disorders. The authors thank the administrators, staff, and students in the Oak Park, MI, public schools for their participation and Carol McDonald Connor for helpful comments on the manuscript.
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