The Acquisition of Tense and Agreement Morphemes by Children With Specific Language Impairment During Intervention: Phase 3
Purpose: The goals of this investigation were to determine whether gains in the use of tense and agreement morphemes by children with specific language impairment (SLI) during a 96-session intervention period would still be evident 1 month following treatment and whether these treatment effects would be greater than those seen in children with SLI receiving otherwise similar treatment that did not emphasize tense and agreement morphemes.
Method: Thirty-three children with SLI (age 3;0 to 4;8 [years;months]) served as participants. The children participated in 1 of 3 treatment conditions. The conditions emphasized 3rd person singular –s, auxiliary is/are/was, or general language stimulation. The children’s use of 3rd person singular –s, auxiliary is/are/was, and past tense –ed was assessed through probes administered throughout treatment and 1 month later.
Results: The children in the conditions that targeted 3rd person singular –s and auxiliary is/are/was showed significant gains on their respective target morphemes, and these gains were maintained 1 month later. These gains were significantly greater than the gains seen on the same morphemes by the children receiving general language stimulation. For most children, use of the target morphemes did not approach mastery levels by the end of the study.
Conclusion: Intervention that emphasizes morphemes that mark both tense and agreement can be relatively successful, with gains still apparent at least 1 month following intervention.