Early Referral of School-Age Children with Language Problems

Dixie D. Sanger, Mary Aspedon, Karen Hux, Angela Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effectiveness of using an observational checklist to facilitate early teacher referral of children suspected of having language problems. Twelve classroom teachers completed the Observational Checklist of Conversational Skills on 37 kindergarten and first grade students whom they suspected had language problems (i.e., were at-risk for language impairments) and 37 age-matched peers. Students in the at-risk group were evaluated using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Revised (CELF-R) and the Communication Abilities Diagnostic Test (CADeT). Scores revealed that 25 of the 37 subjects (67.57%) were at least 1.5 standard deviations below the mean and 14 of the 37 (37.84%) were at least 2.0 standard deviations below the mean on one or both of the measures. Follow-up data collected one year later on 36 of the 37 at-risk students revealed that 27 (75%) had been referred for special education evaluation. Fourteen of those referred were verified as language impaired and/or learning disabled and one subject was verified as other health impaired (ADHD); six subjects did not qualify for services and, for the remaining six, the evaluation process was not yet complete. Of the 37 age-matched peers, two (5.41 %) had been referred for evaluation; one did not qualify for services and the other was verified as articulation impaired. Implications for using checklists to facilitate early teacher referral are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalCommunication Disorders Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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