American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Screening for Speech and Language Delay in Preschool Children: Systematic Evidence Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force*

Nelson, H. D., Nygren, P., et al. (2006).
AHRQ Publication No. 290-02-0024. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes

Description: This is a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and systematic reivews pertaining to speech and language screening and intervention in pre-school children. Only randomized controlled trials were included for clinical questions examining the effectiveness of interventions.

Question(s) Addressed:

  1. Does screening for speech and language delay result in improved speech and language as well as improved other non-speech and language outcomes?
  2. Do screening evaluations in the primary care setting accurately identify children for diagnostic evaluation and interventions?
  3. What are the adverse effects of screening?
  4. Do interventions for speech and language delay improve speech and language outcomes?
  5. Do interventions for speech and language delay improve other non-speech and language outcomes?
  6. What are the adverse effects of interventions?

Population: Children up to five years old without previously known conditions associated with speech and language delay.

Intervention/Assessment:

  • Screening: evaluations taking 30 minutes or less to administer in a primary care setting
  • Intervention: various

Number of Studies Included: 44 screening studies, 14 intervention studies (limited to randomized controlled trials)

Years Included: 1966 – November 2004

Findings:

Conclusions:

"...[F]ound insufficient evidence that brief, formal screening instruments that are suitable for use in primary care for assessing speech and language development can accurately identify children who would benefit from further evaluation and intervention" (p. 1)

Keywords: Language Disorders, Speech Disorders

Access the Review

Note:

*The data in this meta-analysis were also published in:

Nelson HD, Nygren P, Walker M, et al. "Screening for speech and language delay in preschool children: systematic evidence review for the US Preventive Services Task Force." Pediatrics. 2006 Feb; 117(2): e298-319.

Added to Compendium: March 2012

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