Identifiers of Predominantly Spanish-Speaking Children With Language Impairment The purpose of this study was to identify a set of measures that would discriminate 31 predominantly Spanish-speaking children with normal language (NL children) from 31 children with language impairment (LI children). The LI children were identified as such by experienced, bilingual (Spanish/English), ASHA-certified, speech-language pathologists who were currently seeing ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 1998
Identifiers of Predominantly Spanish-Speaking Children With Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • María Adelaida Restrepo
    The University of Georgia Athens
  • Contact author: M. Adelaida Restrepo, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 557 Aderhold Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Email: arestrep@coe.uga.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 1998
Identifiers of Predominantly Spanish-Speaking Children With Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1998, Vol. 41, 1398-1411. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4106.1398
History: Received August 19, 1997 , Accepted April 13, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1998, Vol. 41, 1398-1411. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4106.1398
History: Received August 19, 1997; Accepted April 13, 1998

The purpose of this study was to identify a set of measures that would discriminate 31 predominantly Spanish-speaking children with normal language (NL children) from 31 children with language impairment (LI children). The LI children were identified as such by experienced, bilingual (Spanish/English), ASHA-certified, speech-language pathologists who were currently seeing the children in their caseloads. Children ranged in age from 5 to 7 years and were matched for age, gender, and school. Additionally, nonverbal cognitive measures assured that they did not differ significantly intellectually. Measures of vocabulary, novel bound-morpheme learning skills, and language form were randomly administered to all children. Further, parents responded to questions about their perceptions of their children's speech and language skills and family history of speech and language problems. A stepwise discriminant analysis indicated that 4 measures discriminated the groups of children with a sensitivity of 91.3% and a specificity of 100% (p<.0001): parental report of the child's speech and language skills, number of errors per T-unit, mean length per T-unit, and family history of speech and language problems. A second discriminant analysis indicated that the sensitivity and specificity could be maintained when only the first 2 measures were included. Confirmatory discriminant analyses of the 2- and 4-measure models indicated that the discriminant accuracy was stable on an independent sample.

Acknowledgments
This article was adapted from the doctoral dissertation completed by the author at the University of Arizona, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, under Linda Swisher. The research was supported in part by the Tucson Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation, by the U.S. Department of Education Grant H029D20070, and by the National Multipurpose Research and Training Center Grant DC-01409 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The author would like to thank especially Linda Swisher and Elena Plante for their support and advice during the dissertation process and Ana Dokken for her assistance in the data collection and transcription. In addition, the author would like to thank Marilyn Newhoff for her great support editing the manuscript. The author also thanks the staff, students, and their families that participated in this study from the Tucson Unified and Sunny Side Unified School Districts and the undergraduate students that contributed to data collection and analysis.
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