The academic and functional academic skills of youth who are at risk for language impairment in residential care

Jessica L. Hagaman, Alexandra L. Trout, Cathy DeSalvo, Robert Gehringer, Michael H. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Undiagnosed language impairment (LI) for youth in residential care is a concern as similar populations have shown elevated levels of language delays. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to identify the percentage of youth in residential care who are at risk for LI and to compare the demographic, academic achievement, and functional academic skills of youth with or without possible LI. Method: Participants were 80 youth in residential care. Risk for LI was determined using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4 Screening Test (E. Semel, E. H. Wiig, & W. A. Secord, 2004). Independent-samples t tests and chi-square analyses were conducted to assess the differences between groups. Measures used included the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement (R. W. Woodcock, K. S. McGrew, & N. Mather, 2001) and the Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (A. S. Kaufman & N. L. Kaufman, 1994). Results: More than half of the sample (54%) were identified as being at risk for LI. Statistically significant differences between youth with and without LI were found on academic variables. Specifically, youth who were at risk for LI presented academic achievement and functional academic scores in the low to low-average ranges. Conclusion: Findings suggest that there is a need to screen youth entering residential programs for possible LI. Implications for treatment and program planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Academic achievement
  • At-risk
  • Functional academic skills
  • Language impairment
  • Residential care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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