Development and Preliminary validation of a screening tool for Specific learning disorder in children


  • Varsha Vidyadharan Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala
  • Harish M Tharayil Professor of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala
  • Biju George Assistant professor of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala



Specific learning disability,Validation,Specific learning disorder,Screening tool


Background: Delay in early diagnosis of Specific learning disorder (SLD) is influenced by various factors, including the lack of simple yet validated tools for assessment.

Objective: We aimed to develop and validate a screening questionnaire in English and Malayalam for SLD in children aged 7-11 years, which can be used easily. This paper deals with the initial development and preliminary validation of the tool, which was subsequently validated in a larger sample and had already been published.

Materials and methods: The tool was validated using a case-control methodology. It was developed after ensuring face and content validity, and suitable modifications were done based on the internal consistency measure and factor analysis results. The tool was applied in children with SLD and two groups of controls. ROC curve analysis was done to find the optimum cut-off, and validity parameters were estimated.

Results: A total of 21 SLD, 42 normal and 37 borderline intelligence children, were studied. The final tool with 26 items had good Cronbach’s alpha (0.95) and area under the curve values (0.96). The tool had good sensitivity (100 %) and specificity (77.2%), i.e., if the score is <10, we can rule out SLD.

Conclusions: We propose a new screening tool for SLD with promising reliability and validity characteristics that need to be evaluated further.



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How to Cite

Vidyadharan, V., Tharayil, H. M., & George, B. (2019). Development and Preliminary validation of a screening tool for Specific learning disorder in children. Kerala Journal of Psychiatry, 32(1), 25–31.



Research Report