Blog Archives

The Effectiveness of Parent-Implemented Language Interventions: A Meta-Analysis

Conclusion: The results of this review indicate that parent-implemented language interventions are an effective approach to early language intervention for young children with language impairments. Critical features of parent-implemented interventions are discussed in terms of implications for practice and future research.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology


Assessment and Treatment of Working Memory Deficits in School-Age Children: The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist

Conclusion: Research to date has documented that children with language impairments frequently have poor WM skills. SLPs can support poor WM skills by considering both modifications to the environment and child-enacted knowledge and skills, which may serve to reduce the impact of poor WM skills on learning and academic success.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

A Preliminary Evaluation of Fast ForWord-Language as an Adjuvant Treatment in Language Intervention

Conclusions: This preliminary study provides no evidence to support the claim that FFW-L enhances children’s response to a conventional language intervention.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Incidental receptive language growth associated with expressive grammar intervention in SLI

Children with SLI (Specific Language Impairment) display language deficits in the absence of frank neurological lesions, global cognitive deficits or significant clinical hearing loss. Although these children can display disruptions in both receptive and expressive grammar, the intervention literature has been largely focused on expressive deficits. Thus, there are numerous reports in the literature suggesting that expressive language skills can be improved using focused presentation of grammatical targets (cf. conversational recast; Camarata, Nelson & Camarata, 1994), but there have been few investigations addressing the remediation of receptive language skills in SLI for those children with receptive language deficits. The purpose of this study was to examine whether focused grammatical intervention on expressive grammar is associated with growth in receptive language in 21 children with SLI who have receptive language deficits. These children displayed significant growth in receptive language scores as an incidental or secondary association with expressive language intervention and significantly higher gains than seen in a comparison-control group with SLI and receptive language deficits (n = 6). The theoretical and clinical implications of these results are discussed.

from First Language

Interaural Time Discrimination of Envelopes Carried on High-Frequency Tones as a Function of Level and Interaural Carrier Mismatch

from Ear and Hearing

Objectives: The present study investigated interaural time discrimination for binaurally mismatched carrier frequencies in listeners with normal hearing. One goal of the investigation was to gain insights into binaural hearing in patients with bilateral cochlear implants, where the coding of interaural time differences (ITDs) may be limited by mismatches in the neural populations receiving stimulation on each side.

Design: Temporal envelopes were manipulated to present low frequency timing cues to high-frequency auditory channels. Carrier frequencies near 4 kHz were amplitude modulated at 128 Hz via multiplication with a half-wave rectified sinusoid, and that modulation was either in-phase across ears or delayed to one ear. Detection thresholds for nonzero ITDs were measured for a range of stimulus levels and a range of carrier frequency mismatches. Data were also collected under conditions designed to limit cues based on stimulus spectral spread, including masking and truncation of sidebands associated with modulation.

Results: Listeners with normal hearing can detect ITDs in the face of substantial mismatches in carrier frequency across ears.

Conclusions: The processing of ITDs in listeners with normal hearing is likely based on spread of excitation into binaurally matched auditory channels. Sensitivity to ITDs in listeners with cochlear implants may depend on spread of current that results in the stimulation of neural populations that share common tonotopic space bilaterally.

Basic Principles of Language Intervention for Children Who Use AAC

from Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication

No abstract available.

Fast ForWord® does not significantly improve language skills in children with language disorders

from Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention

No abstract available.

Use of Narrative-Based Language Intervention With Children Who Have Cochlear Implants

from Topics in Language Disorders

Narrative-based language intervention (NBLI) is a 6-week production-based intervention approach that targets grammatical structure as well as narrative content and form. Story grammar components and syntactic forms specifically chosen for each individual are taught via story retell and story-generation techniques. Previous research has shown NBLI to be an effective intervention to increase the narrative skills of children with specific language impairment. In the present study, the use of NBLI was examined with 3 children who have cochlear implants. Modifications in NBLI for children with hearing loss included acoustic highlighting of the syntactic target. Gains in narrative quality as well as syntax were observed in children with severe-profound to profound hearing loss supporting the feasibility of NBLI for multiple populations.

A Randomized Trial of Longitudinal Effects of Low-Intensity Responsivity Education/Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Purpose: To evaluate the longitudinal effects of a 6-month course of responsivity education (RE)/prelinguistic milieu teaching (PMT) for young children with developmental delay.

Method: Fifty-one children, age 24–33 months, with fewer than 10 expressive words were randomly assigned to early-treatment/no-treatment groups. All treatment was added as a supplement to services that the children received in the community. Follow-up data were collected 6 and 12 months after the conclusion of the initial 6-month treatment/no-treatment conditions.

Results: No effects of this treatment were detected 6 or 12 months after the conclusion of the initial treatment condition.

Conclusions: M. E. Fey et al. (2006) reported that 6 months of RE/PMT led to a significant treatment effect in the use of intentional communication in 1 of 2 communication sampling contexts. This finding, combined with evidence from other studies, suggests that RE/PMT may be applied clinically at low intensity with the expectation of medium-sized effects on children’s rate of intentional communication acts over the short term. The results of the present study, however, provide no evidence for the anticipated longer term benefits of this intervention. Further investigation of the approach at higher intensity levels and for longer periods of time is warranted.

The Acquisition of Tense and Agreement Morphemes by Children With Specific Language Impairment During Intervention: Phase 3

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

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.

The Efficacy of Fast ForWord Language Intervention in School-Age Children With Language Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Purpose: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the language and auditory processing outcomes of children assigned to receive the Fast ForWord Language intervention (FFW-L) with the outcomes of children assigned to nonspecific or specific language intervention comparison treatments that did not contain modified speech.

Method: Two hundred sixteen children between the ages of 6 and 9 years with language impairments were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: (a) Fast ForWord Language (FFW-L), (b) academic enrichment (AE), (c) computer-assisted language intervention (CALI), or (d) individualized language intervention (ILI) provided by a speech-language pathologist. All children received 1 hr and 40 min of treatment, 5 days per week, for 6 weeks. Language and auditory processing measures were administered to the children by blinded examiners before treatment, immediately after treatment, 3 months after treatment, and 6 months after treatment.

Results: The children in all 4 conditions improved significantly on a global language test and a test of backward masking. Children with poor backward masking scores who were randomized to the FFW-L condition did not present greater improvement on the language measures than children with poor backward masking scores who were randomized to the other 3 conditions. Effect sizes, analyses of standard error of measurement, and normalization percentages supported the clinical significance of the improvements on the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (E. Carrow-Woolfolk, 1999). There was a treatment effect for the Blending Words subtest of the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (R. K. Wagner, J. K. Torgesen, & C. A. Rashotte, 1999). Participants in the FFW-L and CALI conditions earned higher phonological awareness scores than children in the ILI and AE conditions at the 6-month follow-up testing.

Conclusion: Fast ForWord Language, the intervention that provided modified speech to address a hypothesized underlying auditory processing deficit, was not more effective at improving general language skills or temporal processing skills than a nonspecific comparison treatment (AE) or specific language intervention comparison treatments (CALI and ILI) that did not contain modified speech stimuli. These findings call into question the temporal processing hypothesis of language impairment and the hypothesized benefits of using acoustically modified speech to improve language skills. The finding that children in the 3 treatment conditions and the active comparison condition made clinically relevant gains on measures of language and temporal auditory processing informs our understanding of the variety of intervention activities that can facilitate development.

Interactional style, elicitation strategies and language production in professional language intervention

from Child Language Teaching and Therapy

This paper explores language intervention for children with specific language impairment in Sweden. The elicitation strategies, style of interaction and language production used by speech and language pathologists (SLPs) were analyzed in two conditions, free conversation and training of grammar. In training, the grammatical targets were used significantly more often by the SLPs, but not by the children. In the free conversations the children talked more and had significantly higher mean length of utterance in words and the SLPs linked significantly more to the child’s focus. The two conditions represent different, but complementary approaches to language intervention.

Clinical implications of the effects of lexical aspect and phonology on children’s production of the regular past tense

from Child Language Teaching and Therapy

This study examined the effect of lexical aspect and phonology on regular past-tense production. Data are presented from a group of 31 children, mean age 33 months, with typical language development. A case study of a 50-month-old child with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is also presented. Children imitated sentence pairs that included an endpoint (accomplishments, e.g. she crawled into a box) or did not (activity, e.g. she crawled around in circles). Verbs ended in obstruents (e.g. walk) or nonobstruents (e.g. roll). The regular past tense was produced with the lowest accuracy in activities ending in obstruents (e.g., she walked in circles). Assessment and treatment suggestions for children with SLI are provided.

Exploring visual-graphic symbol acquisition by pre-school age children with developmental and language delays

from AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

The process of language acquisition requires an individual to organize the world through a system of symbols and referents. For children with severe intellectual disabilities and language delays, the ability to link a symbol to its referent may be a difficult task. In addition to the intervention strategy, issues such as the visual complexity and iconicity of a symbol arise when deciding what to select as a medium to teach language. This study explored the ability of four pre-school age children with developmental and language delays to acquire the meanings of Blissymbols and lexigrams using an observational experiential language intervention. In production, all four of the participants demonstrated symbol-referent relationships, while in comprehension, three of the four participants demonstrated at least emerging symbol-referent relationships. Although the number of symbols learned across participants varied, there were no differences between the learning of arbitrary and comparatively iconic symbols. The participants’ comprehension skills appeared to influence their performance.

The role of clinical judgements of modifiability in the diagnosis of language impairment

from Advances in Speech-Language Pathology

The primary objective of this study was to closely examine the notion of child modifiability in response to scripted mediated learning experience (MLE) sessions that targeted narrative abilities. Forty children (25 with normal language ability and 15 with language impairment) participated in the study. Clinicians who were blinded to child language ability made judgements of children’s social-emotional behaviour, cognitive arousal, and cognitive elaboration at the conclusion of each of two MLE sessions. Results indicate that children with and without language impairment performed differently across the four domains that were observed. The strongest predictors of language ability were cognitive arousal and cognitive elaboration. Within these two domains, a composite score of flexibility and metacognition accurately classified children into impaired and non-impaired groups with 93% accuracy. A follow-up case study examining clinician-child discourse examined clinician questions and child response to questions by a child with language impairment and his age-, gender-, and ethnicity-matched peer. Consistent with the group results, findings were that the child with language impairment required more question repetition and reformulations and demonstrated significantly more “no response” reactions to inferential questions. Implications of use of clinical judgements of language learning are discussed.