Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Arthur M. Guilford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amaya Ramos, M.D.

Committee Member

Daphne Thomas, Ph.D.


Language disorders, Internalizing behavior, Externalizing behavior, Co-existing, Schools


This study investigated the language skills and behavior characteristic of 63 students with severe behavior disorders who were referred by a large, mostly urban school district for a neuropsychiatric evaluation between 2001 and 2005. Archival data were retrieved by chart review for this study and was used to answer the following questions: 1) What is the prevalence of language disorders in children referred for a psychiatric evaluation? 2) Do behavioral symptoms vary among children with and without a language disorder? and 3) What is the initial area of concern identified by the parents of children with language and behavior disorders? The study revealed: (1) prevalence rates of language disorders in children with severe behavior was 57%; (2) behavioral symptoms did not vary significantly among children with and without language disorders on the parent version of Child Behavior Check List; and (3) no relationship existed between parent initial area of concern about their child and communication. Study results support the need for teacher education about the high prevalence of language disorders in children with severe behavioral problems in school populations.