The accurate diagnosis of clinical conditions that include language disorders (e.g., developmental disabilities, autism, and specific language impairment) rests squarely on the accurate measurement of language and related abilities. In addition, because the goal of any treatment program is to generate measurable progress in language function, it is essential that treatment programs be designed within the context of state-of-the-art measurement. Therefore, both diagnosis and treatment of language disorders in children are founded on measurement. However, recent advances in the measurement of language abilities have outpaced changes in diagnostic classification and treatment methods. This should not imply that diagnosis be solely guided by available subtests on an intelligence battery or that treatment be designed primarily to teach the items used in measurement. Rather the goal should be to diagnose with an eye on the results of measurement and develop treatments that result in advances in the underlying skills that are sampled in the measurement procedures. Thus, the purpose of this article is to review the measurement of oral language in children and discuss methods for ensuring that diagnosis and treatment include consideration of these measures. In addition, the ways that treatment outcomes can ultimately inform diagnosis will be discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology