Concurrent and predictive validity of an early language screening program

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1998 Jun;41(3):627-41. doi: 10.1044/jslhr.4103.627.


The efficacy of screening 2-year-old children for language delay using a parent-report questionnaire was investigated in three studies. The Language Development Survey (Rescorla, 1989) was mailed to 650 families at the time of their child's second birthday. Fifty-three percent of the surveys received by parents were completed and returned. Screening outcomes were then compared, in double-blind fashion, with the results of comprehensive clinical evaluations at ages 2 (N = 64) and 3 (N = 36). Parents' report of the size of their children's expressive vocabularies was highly correlated with clinical language measures at age 2. Children who screened positive performed significantly poorer than children who screened negative on standardized language tests and on measures taken from spontaneous conversation. The screening program demonstrated excellent sensitivity and specificity for identifying language delay at age 2 but somewhat lower levels for predicting developmental status one year later.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors