Background: Language problems at an early age in very preterm (VP) children can have a detrimental effect on other developmental domains and often persist throughout childhood. The aim of this study was to examine the concurrent and predictive validity of an early language parent-report questionnaire for language disorder in VP children from 2 to 10 years of age. Materials and methods: In 80 VP children (<32 weeks’ gestation) without major disabilities, a parent-questionnaire and formal language assessment, both normed for the general population, were administered at 2 years corrected age (CA). Of these infants, 62 were seen for follow-up formal language assessment at age 4 and 61 were seen at age 10. Sensitivity and specificity values were calculated. Results: The Lexi-list showed acceptable concurrent validity for word production scores obtained at age 2 CA. The predictive validity was good for sentence production and acceptable for word production scores obtained at age 4, and low for language production scores obtained at age 10. A Lexi-list cut-off score of <85 (i.e., <-1 SD) was found optimal. Interpretation: A norm-referenced parent-report questionnaire is a useful, first screening tool in a neonatal follow-up. It not only detected early language disorder at age 2 CA but also proved to be a good predictor for language disorder at age 4. However, it did not predict language disorder at age 10. Formal language assessment at age 4 would therefore be recommended for children with an abnormal parent-report language score at age 2 CA.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank A. Lika (Department of Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands) for statistical advice and review of the manuscript and C.W. Starkweather, PhD, for English language editing of the manuscript. We also thank all the children and their parents who participated in the study for their continuous effort and support.
© 2021 The Authors