Authors: Motsch H-J, Ulrich T
Title: Effects of the strategy therapy ‘lexicon pirate’ on lexical deficits in preschool age: A randomized controlled trial
Source: Child Language Teaching and Therapy 2012 28(2): 159-175
Year: 2012
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 05/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

The most common interventions for children with lexical disorders are forms and combinations of interventions focusing on phonological and semantic elaboration and retrieval. Systematic reviews of intervention studies on children with lexical disorders show that a significant generalization of therapeutic effects to untrained vocabulary was rarely achieved. The aim of this study was to investigate whether preschool children with lexical deficits profit from an intervention approach that focuses on implementing lexical learning strategies. A randomized controlled trial was conducted. The control group consisted of 25 children, who received language support in their kindergarten. The 26 children in the experimental group additionally received 15 intervention sessions of the lexical strategy intervention ‘lexicon pirate’. Intervention effects were measured using a standardized expressive vocabulary assessment one year after the intervention. All children significantly improved on the expressive vocabulary measure. In addition, the gain in expressive vocabulary size was higher for children in the experimental group than for the participants in the control group. Further analysis revealed that ‘lexicon pirate’ was as effective for children with qualitative (word-finding) lexical deficits as for those with quantitative (vocabulary) lexical deficits. The gain in expressive vocabulary size was independent of nonverbal IQ, deficits in phonological working memory or other possible influencing factors.

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