Preschool children’s communication, motor and social development: Parents’ and educators’ concerns

Sharynne McLeod*, Kathryn Crowe, Jane McCormack, Paul White, Yvonne Wren, Elise Baker, Sarah Masso, Sue E Roulstone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
321 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE: During early childhood, it is important to identify which children require intervention before they face the increased demands of school. This study aimed to: (1) compare parents' and educators' concerns, (2) examine inter-rater reliability between parents' and educators' concerns and (3) determine the group difference between level of concern and children's performance on clinical testing.

METHOD: Parents and educators of 1205 4- to 5-year-old children in the Sound Start Study completed the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status. Children whose parents/educators were concerned about speech and language underwent direct assessment measuring speech accuracy (n = 275), receptive vocabulary (n = 131) and language (n = 274).

RESULT: More parents/educators were concerned about children's speech and expressive language, than behaviour, social-emotional, school readiness, receptive language, self-help, fine motor and gross motor skills. Parents' and educators' responses were significantly correlated (except gross motor). Parents' and educators' level of concern about expressive speech and language was significantly correlated with speech accuracy on direct assessment. Educators' level of concern was significantly correlated with a screening measure of language. Scores on a test of receptive vocabulary significantly differed between those with concern and those without.

CONCLUSION: Children's communication skills concerned more parents and educators than other aspects of development and these concerns generally aligned with clinical testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-482
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number4
Early online date18 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • behaviour
  • children
  • communication
  • development
  • early childhood
  • educators
  • fine motor
  • gross motor
  • language
  • parents
  • school readiness
  • screening
  • speech
  • teachers


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