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Clinical Summary

Speech and Language Delay and Disorders in Children Age 5 and Younger: Screening

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Clinical Summary

Population Asymptomatic children aged ≤5 years whose parents or clinicians do not have specific concerns about their speech, language, hearing, or development
Recommendation No recommendation.
Grade: I statement (insufficient evidence)
Risk Assessment Risk factors that have been reported to be associated with speech and language delay and disorders include male sex, family history of speech and language impairment, low parental education level, and perinatal risk factors (e.g., prematurity, low birth weight, and birth difficulties).
Screening Tests The USPSTF found inadequate evidence on specific screening tests for use in primary care settings. Widely used screening tests in the United States include the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, the Language Development Survey, and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory.
Treatment and Interventions Interventions for childhood speech and language disorders vary widely and can include speech-language therapy sessions and assistive technology (if indicated). Interventions are commonly individualized to each child's specific pattern of symptoms, needs, interests, personality, and learning style.
Balance of Benefits and Harms The current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening and interventions for speech and language delay and disorders in young children in primary care settings.
Other Relevant USPSTF Recommendations The USPSTF recommends screening for hearing loss in all newborn infants, and is developing a recommendation on screening for autism spectrum disorder in young children (available at

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making these recommendations, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, please go to

Current as of: July 2015

Internet Citation: Clinical Summary: Speech and Language Delay and Disorders in Children Age 5 and Younger: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. July 2015.

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