Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Identification of Adults With Developmental Language Impairments

Fidler, L.J., Plante, E., & Vance, R. (2011). Identification of adults with developmental language impairments. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 2-13.

Literature concerning developmental language impairment in adults is rare compared to that of children. Fidler et al.’s study focused on identifying a test battery for identifying this population.

Six groups were formed from 192 participants: (1) adults with a learning disability, (2) adults who have a history of speech and/or language services, (3) parents of children who are diagnosed with specific language impairment, and three control groups matched on age and sex. A battery of measures were administered to all groups targeting various domains: phonology (nonword repetition and written spelling tasks), morphology (grammatical judgment and phrase completion tasks), syntax (sentence generation task and Modified Token Test), semantics (word definition and picture-pointing tasks), and narrative (speaking rate task).

Results indicated that three of the battery’s measures were significant in identifying language impairment in the three non-control groups of adults (the Modified Token Test, the 15-word spelling task, and the CELF-4-WD word definition task). Additionally, it was found that when used together as a battery, these three measures maximally idenitified clinical group members as having impaired language (sensitivity) and control group members as having typical language (specificity).

Fidler et. al’s research is important as it establishes tasks that identify this phenomenon in adults, which should be of particular interest to both researchers and clinicians.

Blogger: John Berger. John recently finished his undergraduate Psychology and English Literature degrees, and works as a research assistant in the LWM lab with Dr. Archibald.