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Int J Speech Lang Pathol. 2014 Apr;16(2):109-20. doi: 10.3109/17549507.2013.796000. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

The use of a standardized language assessment tool to measure the language development of urban Aboriginal preschoolers.

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Sydney Local Health District, NSW Health , Sydney , Australia.


The use of standardized language assessment tools with Australian Indigenous children has been criticized for language and cultural reasons; however, this has not been tested in an urban context. The aim of the study was to explore the language performance of a small sample of urban Aboriginal preschoolers on a standardized language tool compared with a conversational sample. Fifteen participants (drawn from a birth cohort study of over 150 Aboriginal infants born at a metropolitan hospital) completed the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool Edition, Second Edition (CELF-P2) and generated a 30-minute conversational language sample. Descriptive data are reported, and five case studies are explored in detail to compare results of the CELF-P2 and the language sample analysis. Grammatical features of Aboriginal English are also investigated. There was a diverse range of responses to standardized assessment and language sampling, with some samples reflective of CELF-P2 results. Two or more grammatical features of Aboriginal English were identified in 13 of the language samples. The results suggest the CELF-P2 is an appropriate tool to use to assess the language development of the children in the study when used in conjunction with analysis of language samples obtained using culturally appropriate methods.

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