Development and validation of a screening procedure to identify speech-language delay in toddlers with cleft palate
The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a clinically useful speech-language screening procedure for young children with cleft palate ± cleft lip (CP) to identify those in need of speech-language intervention. Twenty-two children with CP were assigned to a +/− need for intervention conditions based on assessment of consonant inventory using a real-time listening procedure in combination with parent-reported expressive vocabulary. These measures allowed evaluation of early speech-language skills found to correlate significantly with later speech-language performance in longitudinal studies of children with CP. The external validity of this screening procedure was evaluated by comparing the +/− need for intervention assignment determined by the screening procedure to experienced speech-language pathologist (SLP)s’ clinical judgement of whether or not a child needed early intervention. The results of real-time listening assessment showed good-excellent inter-rater agreement on different consonant inventory measures. Furthermore, there was almost perfect agreement between the children selected for intervention with the screening procedure and the clinical judgement of experienced SLPs indicate that the screening procedure is a valid way of identifying children with CP who need early intervention.