Early Identification of Children With Communication Disorders: Concurrent and Predictive Validity of the CSBS Developmental Profile

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Communication disorders in infants and toddlers are significantly underidentified, prohibiting early intervention for many children and families who might benefit from services. Researchers have sought to identify earlier and more accurate predictors of later language development. This article describes the FIRST WORDS Project evaluation model for identifying children less than 24 months of age who are at risk for communication disorders by using the CSBS Developmental Profile (CSBS DP; A. Wetherby & B. Prizant. Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile—First Normed Edition. Baltimore, Md: Brookes Publishing Co; 2002). Children were first screened with a brief parent-report checklist distributed by healthcare and childcare providers and other community agencies serving families of young children. Children were followed up with a more in-depth parent report tool and face-to-face evaluation. This paper presents the results of 2 studies. The first study examined the concurrent validity of the CSBS DP based on screening and evaluation with the CSBS DP for 232 children between 12 and 24 months of age. The second study examined the predictive validity of the CSBS DP based on follow-up testing of receptive and expressive language for 246 children at 2 years of age and 108 children at 3 years of age. These findings support the use of prelinguistic predictors and the important role of the family in screening and evaluation to improve early identification.

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