Norming and validating the Parent-evaluated Listening & Understanding Measure (PLUM) and Hear and Talk Scale (HATS) for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children aged 0 to 5 years
The goal of this project was to develop screening tools that can be used by primary health workers and early educators for detecting and identifying potential hearing and communication difficulties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0 to 5 years.
The Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) checklist has been adapted from the Parents’ Evaluation of Aural/oral performance of Children (PEACH) scale, a scale which has been used to evaluate hearing effectiveness in young children by Hearing Australia. The Hear and Talk Scale (HATS) has been developed to identify children who may have speech communication difficulties.
This study aimed to validate the PLUM and HATS checklists for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged between 0 and 5 years of age. A total of 91 families were participants, 51 from urban and regional communities and 40 from remote and regional communities. All participants completed the PLUM and HATS scales. Majority of the children received a standard hearing assessment. About half of the children also completed speech and language assessments. Reports were provided to individual families.
Preliminary analyses revealed that the PLUM scale scores were correlated with the hearing levels measured in children. When parents were asked the right questions, their observations could reveal hearing problems in their children. This information can be used to trigger referrals for audiological assessment. In a similar vein, the HATs scores were related to language scores. The PLUM and HATS score sheets will be fine-tuned for use by primary health and education workers on the basis of results from this study.
This study is supported by funding provided by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Grant.