Authors: Zens NK, Gillon GT, Moran C
Title: Effects of phonological awareness and semantic intervention on word-learning in children with SLI
Source: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 2009 11(6): 509-524
Year: 2009
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 03/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - N
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - N

This study examined the effects of phonological awareness and semantic intervention on word-learning abilities in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and whether treatment order influenced outcomes. An alternating treatment design was implemented to evaluate whether phonological awareness, semantic awareness, or a combination of both interventions positively influenced children's word-learning ability and whether the order of the treatments influenced outcomes. Nineteen children with SLI, aged between 6;3 and 8;2 years, and 19 age-matched children with typical language development participated in this study. The children with SLI were randomly assigned either to treatment condition A (phonological awareness intervention followed by semantic intervention) or treatment condition B (same interventions in reverse order). A word-learning paradigm was applied at pre-, mid-, and post-testing to evaluate which condition accelerated the receptive and expressive learning of novel words. Positive treatment effects on producing new words were found for the children who received phonological awareness intervention followed by semantic intervention. There was no improvement on the comprehension of new words for either group. The findings suggest that phonological awareness intervention may not only improve children's phonological skills, but may help to facilitate some aspects of word-learning when followed by an additional semantic based intervention.

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