USPSTF Mulls Speech, Language Screening for Kids Under 5
(HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to weigh the benefits and harms of screening for speech and language delays in children aged younger than 5 years. The final recommendation statement has been published online July 7 in Pediatrics.
Albert L. Siu, MD, MSPH, on behalf of the USPSTF, reported on the updated recommendation on screening for speech and language delay in preschool-aged children. The Task Force reviewed the evidence on screening of children aged 5 years or younger, including the accuracy of screening in primary care settings, the role of surveillance by primary care physicians, and the correlation between screening and interventions with outcomes.
The members of the Task Force write that the current evidence is insufficient to weigh the balance of benefits and harms of screening for speech and language delay (I statement). The recommendation applies to asymptomatic children aged 5 years or younger, whose parents or clinicians do not have specific concerns about speech or language development.
"Learning to speak and use language correctly is a complex process and a critical component of child development," Task Force member Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, said in a statement. "We need a better understanding of how to identify at-risk children in primary care settings and which treatments are effective once children with speech and language delays and disorders are found."