Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – Criteria for Eligibility in the Educational Category of Language Impairment
A child exhibits a language impairment when:
- The child consistently exhibits inappropriate use in any of the structures of language (e.g., morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) as indicated by language sampling or structured clinical tasks
- The child’s language functioning is significantly below the child’s cognitive abilities as measured by two or more standardized language assessments. Significantly below is defined as two standard deviations below the mean for children 3 to 5 years of age but not eligible for kindergarten; and 1.5 standard deviation below cognitive ability for children who are kindergarten age eligible through and older
- The language disorder adversely affects the child’s educational performance
- The language disorder is not a result of dialectal differences or second language influence
NOTE ON PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT: A child may also be deemed eligible if the evaluation documents through formal and informal assessment that a language deficit is present even though the standard scores do not meet the criteria in B above. In such cases, sufficient data must be presented in the evaluation report to document the existence of the language deficit.