Classification accuracy of brief parent report measures of language development in Spanish-speaking toddlers

Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2011 Oct;42(4):536-49. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0076). Epub 2011 Aug 15.


Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to examine the concurrent validity and classification accuracy of 3 parent report measures of language development in Spanish-speaking toddlers.

Method: Forty-five Spanish-speaking parents and their 2-year-old children participated. Twenty-three children had expressive language delays (ELDs) as determined through multiple sources of information, and 22 had typical language development (TD). Parents completed the Spanish version of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (Spanish ASQ; Squires, Potter, & Bricker, 1999) and the short-form of the Inventarios del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas Palabras y Enunciados (INV-II; Jackson-Maldonado, Bates, & Thal, 1992; Jackson-Maldonado et al., 2003), which is the Spanish version of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories Words and Sentences form, and reported children's 3 longest utterances (M3L-W). Children were administered the Preschool Language Scale, Fourth Edition, Spanish Edition (SPLS-4; Zimmerman, Steiner, & Pond, 2002) at early childhood centers.

Results: All 3 parent report measures were significantly correlated with the SPLS-4, establishing their concurrent validity. Children with ELDs scored significantly lower than TD children on all 3 parent report measures. The Spanish ASQ demonstrated less than desirable levels of sensitivity and specificity; both the short-form INV-II and M3L-W measures demonstrated favorable sensitivity and specificity. Of these measures, M3L-W demonstrated the strongest classification accuracy qualities, including sensitivity, negative predictive value, and area under the receiver operating characteristics curve.

Conclusion: The short-form INV-II and M3L-W demonstrated highly satisfactory classification accuracy of ELDs, but M3L-W demonstrated slightly stronger accuracy. These results indicate that these measures may be useful in screening for ELDs in Spanish-speaking toddlers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / education
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / classification*
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Development Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Language Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mexican Americans / education
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Multilingualism*
  • Observer Variation
  • Parents*
  • Probability
  • Reproducibility of Results