Professor George Farkas has published with colleagues in the latest issue of Exceptional Children: "Cross-Cohort Evidence of Disparities in Service Receipt for Speech or Language Impairments."
We examined the extent to which disparities in the receipt of special education services for speech or language impairments (SLIs) on the basis of race, ethnicity, or language use by kindergarten—when the delivery of these services might be expected to be most effective—have changed over a 12-year period in the United States. Logistic regression modeling of 2 nationally representative cohorts (N = 16,800 and 12,080) indicated that children who are Black (covariate-adjusted odds ratios = 0.39 and 0.54) or from non-English-speaking households (covariate-adjusted odds ratios = 0.57 and 0.50) continue to be less likely to receive services for SLIs. Hispanic children are now less likely to receive these services (covariate adjusted odds ratio = 0.54) than otherwise similar non-Hispanic White children. Disparities in special education service receipt for SLIs attributable to race, ethnicity, and language presently occur in the United States and are not explained by many potential confounds.
Speech or language impairments (SLIs) increase young children’s risk for atypical development, including lower cognitive, behavioral, and school functioning (Bornstein, Hahn, & Suwalsky, 2013; Petersen et al., 2013; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2006). Elementary school–age children with SLIs are at increased risk of having reading (Catts, Fey, Tomblin, & Zhang, 2002; Snowling, Bishop, & Stothard, 2000) and behavioral (Yew & O’Kearney, 2013) disabilities and often experience greater bullying and feelings of isolation (Harrison, McLeod, Berthelsen, & Walker, 2009; McCormack, Harrison, McLeod, & McAllister, 2011; Morgan, Farkas, & Wu, 2011). As they age, children with SLIs are less likely to complete high school; are more frequently unemployed; and, if employed, hold lower-paying positions (Elbro, Dalby, & Maarbjerg, 2011; Felsenfeld, Broen, & McGue, 1994; Johnson, Beitchman, & Brownlie, 2010; Muir, O’Callaghan, Bor, Najman, & Williams, 2011). Prevalence estimates among preschool children vary, ranging from 5% to 8% for combined speech and language delays and 2% to 19% for language delays, with persistence rates of 40% to 60% for untreated speech and language delays (Nelson, Nygren, Walker, & Panoscha, 2006). Although SLIs may constitute a chronic condition (Silva, Williams, & McGee, 1987; Snowling et al., 2000; Tomblin, Zhang, Buckwalter, & O’Brien, 2003), children appropriately identified and provided with interventions and services by kindergarten display substantially improved speech and language capabilities (Beitchman, Wilson, Brownlie, Walters, & Lancee, 1996; Boyle, McCartney, O’Hare, & Forbes, 2009; Hebbeler et al., 2007; Law, Garrett, & Nye, 2004; Nelson et al., 2006; Roberts & Kaiser, 2011; Wilcox, Gray, Guimond, & Lafferty, 2011).
Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., Li, H., Pun, W. H., & Cook, M. (July 2017). Cross-cohort evidence of disparities in service receipt for speech or language impairments. Exceptional Children. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0014402917718341