Aim: The validation of the Dutch Taal Screenings Test (TST), a language-screening test, which is included in a follow-up instrument developed to enable paediatricians to assess 5-y-old preterm infants for their motor, cognitive and speech and language development.
Methods: The speech and language development of 145 5-y-old infants born before 32 wk of gestation and/or with a birth weight of less than 1500 g was assessed by a paediatrician using the TST and by a speech therapist using standardized language tests.
Results: All correlations between the instruments were significant. Using the original cut-off point of the TST for abnormal speech and language development (18 points), the paediatrician will only identify 62% of the children who need speech therapy. For this group of children, a cut-off point of 17 is more effective. The positive predictive value of the TST improved from 77% to 82% by using a parent and school questionnaire to evaluate in a more subjective way the speech and language development.
Conclusion: Using the TST, paediatricians will be able to identify speech or language problems in 5-y-old preterm infants.