Clinical utility of the Colorado Learning Difficulties Questionnaire.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL:
Jacobson LA
Author List: 
Patrick KE
McCurdy MD
Chute DL
Mahone EM
Zabel TA
Jacobson LA
PubMed ID: 
Behavioral disorders are highly comorbid with childhood learning disabilities (LDs), and accurate identification of LDs is vital for guiding appropriate interventions. However, it is difficult to conduct comprehensive assessment of academic skills within the context of primary care visits, lending utility to screening of academic skills via informant reports. The current study evaluated the clinical utility of a parent-reported screening measure in identifying children with learning difficulties.Participants included 440 children (66.7% male), ages 5.25 to 17.83 years (mean = 10.32 years, SD = 3.06 years), referred for neuropsychological assessment. Academic difficulties were screened by parent report using the Colorado Learning Difficulties Questionnaire (CLDQ). Reading and math skills were assessed via individually administered academic achievement measures. Sensitivity, specificity, classification accuracy, and conditional probabilities were calculated to evaluate the efficacy of the CLDQ in predicting academic impairment.Correlations between the CLDQ reading scale and reading achievement measures ranged from -0.35 to -0.65 and from -0.24 to -0.46 between the CLDQ math scale and math achievement measures (all P < .01). Sensitivity was good for both reading and math scales, whereas specificity was low. Taking into account the high base rate of reading and math LDs within our sample, the conditional probability of true negatives (96.2% reading, 85.1% math) was higher than for true positives (40.5% reading, 37.9% math).Overall, the CLDQ may more accurately predict children without LDs than children with LDs. As such, the absence of parent-reported difficulties may be adequate to rule out an overt LD, whereas elevated scores likely indicate the need for more comprehensive assessment.
Published Date: 
November, 2013

Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., to the Kennedy Krieger family as our next President and CEO.

Learn more.

Appointments & Referrals



Read inspiring stories, news and updates about the Institute's patient care, research, special education, professional training, and community programs.


Resource Finder


A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.