Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2005


Published in Great Plains Research 15:2 (Fall 2005). Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


A cross-sectional design was used to assess the language skills and prevalence of language disorders among 84 randomly selected public school children (K-5) receiving special education services for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The mean receptive language standard score fell in the nonclinical range, whereas the mean total and expressive standard scores fell in the clinical range. The prevalence rates of total, expressive, and receptive disorders among children with EBD were 54%, 55%, and 42%, respectively. Approximately two-thirds of children experienced a language disorder (i.e., total, expressive, and/or receptive). Half of those experiencing a language disorder met clinical criteria in all language areas (i.e., total, receptive, and expressive). Approximately 86% of children meeting clinical criteria for total, receptive, and/or expressive language disorder were not receiving formal language services (i.e., false negatives). The findings and future research needs are discussed.