Communication-Based Assessment of Developmental Age for Young Children With Developmental Disabilities PurposeIn this study, the authors compared a multiple-domain strategy for assessing developmental age of young children with developmental disabilities who were at risk for long-term reliance on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with a communication-based strategy composed of receptive language and communication indices that may be less affected by physically ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2012
Communication-Based Assessment of Developmental Age for Young Children With Developmental Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shari L. DeVeney
    University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Lesa Hoffman
    University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Cynthia J. Cress
    University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Correspondence to Shari L. DeVeney: sharideveney@gmail.com
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
Article Information
Language
Article   |   June 01, 2012
Communication-Based Assessment of Developmental Age for Young Children With Developmental Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2012, Vol. 55, 695-709. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0148)
History: Received June 4, 2010 , Revised November 11, 2010 , Accepted September 22, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2012, Vol. 55, 695-709. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0148)
History: Received June 4, 2010; Revised November 11, 2010; Accepted September 22, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeIn this study, the authors compared a multiple-domain strategy for assessing developmental age of young children with developmental disabilities who were at risk for long-term reliance on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with a communication-based strategy composed of receptive language and communication indices that may be less affected by physically challenging tasks than traditional developmental age scores.

MethodParticipants were 42 children (age 9–27 months) with developmental disabilities and who were at risk for long-term reliance on AAC. Children were assessed longitudinally in their homes at 3 occasions over 18 months using multiple-domain and communication-based measures. Confirmatory factor analysis examined dimensionality across the measures, and age-equivalence scores under each strategy were compared, where possible.

ResultsThe communication-based latent factor of developmental age demonstrated good reliability and was almost perfectly correlated with the multiple-domain latent factor. However, the mean age-equivalence score of the communication-based assessment significantly exceeded that of the multiple-domain assessment by 5.3 months across ages.

ConclusionsClinicians working with young children with developmental disabilities should consider a communication-based approach as an alternative developmental age assessment strategy for characterizing children's capabilities, identifying challenges, and developing interventions. A communication-based developmental age estimation is sufficiently reliable and may result in more valid inferences about developmental age for children whose developmental or cognitive age scores may otherwise be limited by their physical capabilities.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant K08 DC00102-01A1, awarded to the third author. Portions of this research were presented at the November 2010 annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Philadelphia, PA. We also appreciate the contributions of the children and families who participated in this research.
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