Authors: Hadley PA, Simmerman A, Long M, Luna M
Title: Facilitating Language Development for Inner-City Children: Experimental Evaluation of a Collaborative, Classroom-based Intervention
Source: Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 2000 31(3): 280-295
Year: 2000
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 04/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
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 - Y

Purpose: This study explores the effectiveness of a collaborative, classroom-based model in enhancing the development of vocabulary and phonological awareness skills for kindergarten and first-grade children in an inner-city school district. Method: Four regular education teachers from the neighborhood school were randomly selected for participation. Children were randomly assigned to classrooms following usual school procedures. Two classrooms served as standard practice controls. In the other two classrooms, a collaborative service delivery model was implemented. One certified speech-language pathologist taught in each experimental classroom 2 ½ days per week. The speech-language pathologist and the regular education teachers engaged in joint curriculum planning on a weekly basis. Vocabulary and phonological awareness instruction was embedded into ongoing curricular activities. Additionally, explicit instruction in phonological awareness was planned for a 25-minute small-group activity centre weekly. Results: Following the 6-month intervention, superior gains were noted in receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, beginning sound awareness, and letter-sound associations for children in the experimental classrooms as compared to the children in the standard practice control classrooms. The children in the experimental classrooms also showed greater improvement on deletion task in comparison to the children in the standard practice classrooms. Importantly, this task was never used as an instructional activity, and thus demonstrated generalization to a novel phonological awareness task. Clinical Implication: The results are discussed with regard to the positive benefits of collaboration in facilitation the language abilities of inner-city children who are at risk for academic difficulties in the early elementary grades.

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