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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology





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Purpose: The primary aim of this scoping review was to categorize language therapy goals reported in intervention studies for preschoolers (i.e., children from 0 to 5;0 years old) with language difficulties and disorders within the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework. A secondary aim was to determine whether different therapy goals were reported for different language difficulty/disorder subtypes (i.e., comparing language difficulty/disorder associated with a biomedical condition to those without an associated biomedical condition).

Method: The scoping review followed Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) guidelines. Articles were retrieved from speechBITE, with age (under 5), intervention area (language), and study design (all but systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines) specified as inclusion criteria. Language goals were extracted and categorized into the ICF components. From there, the distributions of these ICF components were compared between intervention studies for different language difficulty/disorder subtype.

Results: A total of 287 articles were identified; 140 met inclusion criteria. Of the 293 goals extracted, 48% aligned with the Activities component of the ICF framework, followed by Participation (26%), Environmental Factors (20%), Body Functions and Structures (3%) and Personal Factors (3%). Most participation-focused goals were reported from intervention studies of preschoolers with a language difficulty/disorder associated with a biomedical condition.

Conclusions: Few participation-focused goals were reported in intervention studies for preschoolers with language difficulty/disorder without an associated condition. Future work is needed to support integrating the ICF framework in goal setting for both research and practice.

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