Are Current Assessments Effective in the Identification of Specific Language Impairment in Bilingual Children?

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A recent research article by Gillam, Peña, Bedore, Bohman and Mendez-Perez (2013) examined the accuracy of the current EpiSLI testing model for bilingual children with specific language impairment (SLI). Additionally, it explored whether the current EpiSLI model could be modified to give better results in the diagnosis of SLI in bilingual children.

Gillam et al. (2013) recruited and screened 1,192 kindergarteners identified as English Language Learners (ELLs), using a bilingual screener to evaluate each child's grasp of both English and Spanish. A follow up study was conducted when the children reached first grade. At this point, they had experienced a year of schooling, and received instruction in English at least 30% of the time. Overuse of commas. I've marked them in red (as well as some other questionable punctuation usage) throughout. HOWEVER, I'm no English major so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Each child had to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the study. They had to be identified by their primary caregiver as Hispanic; have at least 20% conversational exposure to both English and Spanish; and score below the 30th percentile in one of the subtests given in the bilingual screener. Ultimately, 167 children met all criteria and were eligible for the study.

Gillam et al. (2013) tested the children using the original EpiSLI assessment model, and compared the results to evaluations of the same children by a panel of bilingual Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). *To answer their second research question, they tried to enhance the test’s reliability by setting cut-off scores for the different subtests of the EpiSLI, based on statistical analysis of the test results. Their objective was to find reliable cut...

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...ez, A. (2013). Identification

of specific language impairment in bilingual children: I. assessment in english. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 1813-1823.

Caesar, L. G., Kohler, P. D. (2007). The state of school-based bilingual assessment: Actual practice versus recommended guidelines. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38(3), 190–200.

Bedore, L., & Peña, E. D. (2008). Assessment of bilingual children for identification of language impairment: Current findings and implications for practice. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(1), 1-29.

Webster, R., Erdos, C., Evans, K., Majnemer, A., Kehayia, E., Thordardottir, E., et al. (2006). The Clinical Spectrum Of Developmental Language Impairment In School-Aged Children: Language, Cognitive, And Motor Findings. Pediatrics, 118, e1541-e1549.
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