DEVELOPMENT OF A SCREENING INSTRUMENT FOR LATIN-AMERICAN CHILDREN AT RISK FOR LEARNING DISABILITIES
 
Alvarez, V., Innovaciones Psicoeducativas (Isied) and C. Vlez-Pastrana, M., Carlos Albizu University, Puerto Rico
 
The present study was aimed at developing a Spanish-language instrument that may be appropriate, from a sociocultural perspective, for the screening of Latin-American preschool children, particularly Puerto Rican children. The Batera de Cernimiento Preescolar (BCP) includes the following subtests measures that have been shown by research to discriminate children with learning disabilities: Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Phonological Awareness, Visual-Motor Coordination and Visual Discrimination. The preliminary version of the instrument was administered to a sample of 213 children between the ages of 4.0 and 7.11 for item analysis purposes. An item pool 3 times the size of the desired number of items was developed to allow attrition resulting from item analyses. Results showed appropriate item reliability in all the subtests (Crombach's alpha >87). An additional sample of 54 participants referred by their teacher as at-risk for learning disabilities was selected for comparison purposes. Results indicated a discrimination index of .60 for the total scale. Analyses will be discussed in detail during the presentation. Careful consideration was taken to avoid gender and social class bias in developing the BCP. The importance of early identification of learning disabilities will be discussed during this presentation. Puerto Rico, as well as other developing countries, has an urgent need for valid instruments, particularly for the screening of preschoolers. Scientific evidence demonstrates that when children with LD are identified at an early age, and provided an adequate intervention, they have a chance for academic success.