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S1_JSLHR-23-00490ward.pdf (303.01 kB)

Sentence repetition as a diagnostic tool for DLD (Ward et al., 2024)

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posted on 2024-05-24, 13:32 authored by Leah Ward, Kamila Polišenská, Colin Bannard

Purpose: This systematic review and multilevel meta-analysis examines the accuracy of sentence repetition (SR) tasks in distinguishing between typically developing (TD) children and children with developmental language disorder (DLD). It explores variation in the way that SR tasks are administered and/or evaluated and examines whether variability in the reported ability of SR to detect DLD is related to these differences.

Method: Four databases were searched to identify studies that had used an SR task on groups of monolingual children with DLD and TD children. Searches produced 3,459 articles, of which, after screening, 66 were included in the systematic review. A multilevel meta-analysis was then conducted using 46 of these studies. Multiple preregistered subgroup analyses were conducted in order to explore the sources of heterogeneity.

Results: The systematic review found a great deal of methodological variation, with studies spanning 19 languages, 39 SR tasks, and four main methods of production scoring. There was also variation in study design, with different sampling (clinical and population sampling) and matching (age and language matching) methods. The overall meta-analysis found that, on average, TD children outperformed children with DLD on the SR tasks by 2.08 SDs. Subgroup analyses found that effect size only varied as a function of the matching method and language of the task.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that SR tasks can distinguish children with DLD from both age- and language-matched samples of TD children. The usefulness of SR appears robust to most kinds of task and study variation.

Supplemental Material S1. Results of an exploratory analysis.

Ward, L., Polišenská, K., & Bannard, C. (2024). Sentence repetition as a diagnostic tool for developmental language disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


Sponsorship and funding for the PhD and all resulting publications were provided by the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership Economic and Social Research Council.