Research Note  |   June 2010
Differentiating Cantonese-Speaking Preschool Children With and Without SLI Using MLU and Lexical Diversity (D)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anita M.-Y. Wong
    University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong-SAR-China
  • Thomas Klee
    University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Stephanie F. Stokes
    Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia
  • Paul Fletcher
    University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Anita M.-Y. Wong, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong-SAR-China. Email: amywong@hkusua.hku.hk.
  • Stephanie F. Stokes is now with the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
    Stephanie F. Stokes is now with the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.×
  • © 2010 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech
Research Note   |   June 2010
Differentiating Cantonese-Speaking Preschool Children With and Without SLI Using MLU and Lexical Diversity (D)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 794-799. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0195)
History: Received September 19, 2008 , Revised March 24, 2009 , Accepted August 9, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 794-799. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0195)
History: Received September 19, 2008; Revised March 24, 2009; Accepted August 9, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose: In this study, the authors examined the diagnostic accuracy of a composite clinical assessment measure based on mean length of utterance (MLU), lexical diversity (D), and age (Klee, Stokes, Wong, Fletcher, & Gavin, 2004) in a second, independent sample of 4-year-old Cantonese-speaking children with and without specific language impairment (SLI).

Method: The composite measure was calculated from play-based, conversational language samples of 15 children with SLI and 14 children without SLI. Scores were dichotomized and compared to diagnostic outcomes using a reference standard based on clinical judgment supported by test scores.

Results: Eleven of 15 children with SLI and 8 of 14 children with typical language skills were correctly classified by the dichotomized composite measure. The measure’s sensitivity in this second sample was 73.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 48%–89%); specificity was 57.1% (95% CI 33%–79%); positive likelihood ratio was 1.71 (95% CI 0.87–3.37); and negative likelihood ratio was 0.47 (95% CI 0.18–1.21).

Conclusions: The diagnostic accuracy of the composite measure was substantially lower than in the original study, suggesting that it is unlikely to be informative for clinical use in its present form. The value of replication studies is discussed.

Acknowledgments
This project was funded by Grant 7264/04H from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council and Research Grant R01 00-458 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Portions of this study were presented at the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, University of Wisconsin–Madison, in June 2006, and the Child Language Seminar, Newcastle University, United Kingdom, in July 2006.We would like to thank Yvonne Lai at the Heep Hong Society and Gladys Yan at the Spastics Association of Hong Kong (SAHK) for their advice in participant recruitment. Thanks also go to the Heep Hong Society Shun Lee and Leung King Centre, the SAHK Chan Tseng Hsi Early Education and Training Centre, the University of Hong Kong Speech and Hearing Clinic, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, the Hong Kong Christian Services Kwai Hing Centre, Joyful Mill, Kau Yan School Kindergarten Section, Yan Chai Hospital Fong Kong Fai Kindergarten, Rhenish Mission School, and Thomas Tam Nursery School for their generous support in data collection. We thank our research coordinator Elaine Yung and research assistants Dorcas Chow, Ginny Lai, Deborah Pun, and Penny Lee for their commitment to this project. We could not have completed this project without the children who did their very best and made it fun for us. We thank them all.
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