The Test of Complex Syntax: final development phase, standardization and diagnostic accuracy with respect to children with developmental language disorder (DLD) and those at risk of language disorder.

This project aims to develop an online interactive tool which will allow us to identify children who find it more difficult to understand language than their peers and to individually tailor support to help them to overcome these difficulties. Difficulties understanding spoken language are often hidden and children's problems may go unnoticed. However such problems have significant consequences for a child's educational progress, social inclusion and wellbeing.

We have developed a set of fun and engaging animated films which children watch and respond to and which allow us to uncover the specific areas of language the child is finding difficult. The TECS-E (Test of complex sentences) specifically focuses on complex sentences which are essential for success as children progress through school. So for example instead of simple sentences like "Put your PE kit on", or "put the book back", the child needs to understand more complex sentences like "Before you go to put on your PE kit you need to put back the book you borrowed from the library".

To make the TECS-E ready to be used by Speech and Language Therapists or Teachers we must:

  1. be sure we can rely on it to give accurate results
  2. find out how children with no difficulties respond at different ages
  3. see if it can identify children with difficulties who need support

To do this we need a large number of children to complete TECS-E which represent the range of abilities across the whole population between 31/2 and nine years and we need to compare the TECS-E to other tests with children with identified language difficulties and without. In this way we will deliver a tool which supports practitioners to identify and effectively support children's language development in those at risk.

Award Date
30 June 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Pauline Frizelle
Host Institution
University College Cork
Investigator Led Projects