Authors: To CKS, Lui HM, Li XX, Lam GYH
Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Syntactic Treatment Procedures With Cantonese-Speaking, School-Age Children With Language Disorders
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2015 58(4): 1258-1272
Year: 2015
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 08/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - Y
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Purpose: In this study, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of sentence-combining (SC) and narrative-based (NAR) intervention approaches to syntax intervention using a randomized-controlled-trial design. Method: Fifty-two Cantonese-speaking, school-age children with language impairment were assigned randomly to either the SC or the NAR treatment arm. Seven children did not receive treatment as assigned. Intervention in both arms targeted the same complex syntactical structures. The SC group focused on sentence combination training, whereas the NAR group made use of narratives in which the target structures were embedded. Pretest and posttest performances measured using a standardized language assessment were subjected to analyses of covariance mixed-effect-model analyses of variance. Results: Children in both treatment arms demonstrated significant growth after 4 months of intervention. The main effect between treatment arms and time was not significant after controlling the pretest performance, suggesting that both treatment approaches showed similar effects. The main effect of time was significant. Conclusions: This study provided evidence to support language intervention in the school years in Cantonese-speaking children. However, neither approach was shown to be more efficacious than the other. Future researchers could examine the effects of a longer treatment period and include functional outcome measures.

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