ASHA journals
S1_LSHSS-22-00116Steffes.pdf (3.1 MB)

DLD terminology for SLPs (Steffes & Finestack, 2023)

Download (3.1 MB)
online resource
posted on 2023-04-11, 17:06 authored by Erin Steffes, Lizbeth H. Finestack

Purpose: Developmental language disorder (DLD) is a relatively new, internationally promoted term to describe individuals with language impairments not secondary to a biomedical condition. This study aimed to better understand speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs’) current level of comfort using DLD terminology and knowledge of DLD in the United States to help SLPs better understand how and why they should consider adopting DLD terminology in their clinical practice.

Method: After completing an online presurvey to evaluate current comfort levels in using DLD terminology and current knowledge of DLD, currently practicing SLPs viewed a 45-min prerecorded educational video on DLD. Following this viewing, participants completed a postsurvey nearly identical to the presurvey to measure change in their comfort levels with DLD terminology use and in DLD knowledge.

Results: After filtering to remove likely fraudulent responders, we included 77 participants in all analyses. Presurvey Likert scale responses indicated at least some comfort in using DLD terminology. Additionally, presurvey results of true/false DLD knowledge questions revealed high variability in respondents’ knowledge of DLD. A McNemar chi-square test indicated statistically significant changes in participants’ comfort levels in using DLD terminology from pre- to postsurvey for each question. A paired t test indicated statistically significant changes in DLD knowledge from pre- to postsurvey.

Conclusion: Despite some limitations, it was concluded that diffusion efforts, such as educational presentations, are likely to increase SLPs’ comfort levels in using DLD terminology and SLPs’ knowledge of DLD.

Supplemental Material S1. Video presentation slides.

Steffes, E., & Finestack, L. H. (2023). Developmental language disorder terminology: A survey of speech-language pathologists’ use and knowledge. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 54(3), 841–855.


This study was supported by funding from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Speech-Language- Hearing Sciences Bryng Bryngelson Communication Disorders Research Fund, awarded to Erin Steffes.


Usage metrics

    Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools



    Ref. manager