Validation of the Focus on the Outcomes of Communication under Six outcome measure
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AIM: The aim of this study was to establish the construct validity of the Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS(©) ),a tool designed to measure changes in communication skills in preschool children. METHOD: Participating families' children (n=97; 68 males, 29 females; mean age 2y 8mo; SD 1.04y, range 10mo-4y 11mo) were recruited through eight Canadian organizations. The children were on a waiting list for speech and language intervention. Parents completed the Ages and Stages Questionnaire - Social/Emotional (ASQ-SE) and the FOCUS three times: at assessment and at the start and end of treatment. A second sample (n=28; 16 males 12 females) was recruited from another organization to correlate the FOCUS scores with speech, intelligibility and language measures. Second sample participants ranged in age from 3 years 1 month to 4 years 9 months (mean 3y 11mo; SD 0.41y). At the start and end of treatment, children were videotaped to obtain speech and language samples. Parents and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) independently completed the FOCUS tool. SLPs who were blind to the pre/post order of the videotapes analysed the samples. RESULTS: The FOCUS measured significantly more change (p<0.01) during treatment than during the waiting list period. It demonstrated both convergent and discriminant validity against the ASQ-SE. The FOCUS change corresponded to change measured by a combination of clinical speech and language measures (κ=0.31, p<0.05). CONCLUSION: The FOCUS shows strong construct validity as a change-detecting instrument.
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