An Assessment Battery for Identifying Language Impairments in African American Children

Craig, Holly K.; Washington, Julie A.
April 2000
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2000, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p366
Academic Journal
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.


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