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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1998 Oct;41(5):1136-46.

Nonword repetition and child language impairment.

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Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


A brief, processing-dependent, nonword repetition task, designed to minimize biases associated with traditional language tests, was investigated. In Study 1, no overlap in nonword repetition performance was found between a group of 20 school-age children enrolled in language intervention (LI) and a group of 20 age-matched peers developing language normally (LN). In Study 2, a comparison of likelihood ratios for the nonword repetition task and for a traditional language test revealed that nonword repetition distinguished between children independently identified as LI and LN with a high degree of accuracy, by contrast with the traditional language test. Nonword repetition may have considerable clinical utility as a screening measure for language impairment in children. Information on the likelihood ratios associated with all diagnostic tests of language is badly needed.

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