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Developmental language disorders: Law enforcement (Benes & Lund, 2024)

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posted on 2024-01-24, 21:05 authored by Clare Benes, Emily A. Lund

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to pilot test a survey of professionals within the justice system about their knowledge and perceptions of developmental language disorders (DLDs) and to gather initial data supporting their knowledge and perceptions.

Method: One hundred thirty-six adults in Texas with law enforcement jobs, primarily police officers, participated in this study. Participants completed a survey consisting of 78 questions about their background, experiences with DLD, and beliefs about communication. Additionally, 42 adults who did not work in law enforcement completed the survey twice to establish the initial measures of survey reliability.

Results: This survey demonstrated sufficient test–retest reliability with adults not in law enforcement, and results indicated the emergence of two subscales within the survey. Law enforcement professionals appeared to have limited knowledge of DLD, and many linked language-related behaviors with credibility. A majority did agree with giving accommodations to individuals who struggle with language and reported interest in receiving training to recognize and accommodate DLD.

Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates a need for collaboration between speech-language pathologists and law enforcement professionals and provides data for a survey that could be used across professional groups in the justice system to measure knowledge and perspectives of DLDs. This work represents an initial step in an iterative process of survey development for law enforcement professionals.

Supplemental Material S1. Survey.

Benes, C., & Lund, E. (2024). Knowledge and perspectives of developmental language disorders: The pilot development of a survey of professionals working in law enforcement. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 33(2), 969–989.