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Faculty Sponsor

Stacy Betz


Communication Sciences and Disorders


Recent studies have proposed a new diagnostic label, developmental language disorder (DLD), be used for children who have traditionally been referred to as having specific language impairment. The rationale for using the term DLD is partially based on expert opinions on parent perspectives. This study investigated whether the statements made by experts are representative of parent opinions. An online survey asked parents about a hypothetical situation in which their child has a language impairment. Parents were given a description of the disorder, a label for the disorder, or a combination of the two. Based on the explanation given to them, parents provided their opinions regarding how they would interpret the implications of the child’s language disorder. The results found that receiving a diagnostic label with a description was more useful to parents than receiving only a description or only a label, regardless of what the label was. Parents also felt that knowing whether their child had a disorder was more important than how the disorder differed from other language impairments. These results have the potential to impact the way that speech language pathologists explain a child’s diagnosis to parents.

Diagnostic Labels and their Effect on Parent Perspectives of Child Language Disorders