Authors: Dawes E, Leitão S, Claessen M, Kane R
Title: A randomized controlled trial of an oral inferential comprehension intervention for young children with developmental language disorder
Source: Child Language Teaching and Therapy 2019 35(1): 39-54
Year: 2019
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 06/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
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

Although children with developmental language disorder demonstrate poor inferential comprehension, few studies have evaluated the effect of interventions to improve inferencing. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of a small-group intervention designed to improve oral inferential comprehension of narrative discourse. Thirty-seven 5- to 6-year-old children with developmental language disorder participated. The participants were randomly allocated to the oral inferential comprehension (IC) intervention or a control phonological awareness (PA) intervention. Small-group sessions took place twice a week over 8 weeks. Participants were assessed on narrative comprehension and phonological awareness skills pre- and postintervention, and after a maintenance period of 8 weeks. Compared to the control PA group, the participants in the IC group demonstrated a significant increase in inferential comprehension scores from pre- to post-intervention, which was maintained over time. In addition, the IC group scored significantly higher than the PA group for inferential comprehension on a post-intervention generalization measure. There was no significant difference between the two groups for literal comprehension scores at any assessment point. The results demonstrate that the small-group intervention was effective at improving inferential comprehension of narratives in 5- to 6-yearold children with developmental language disorder. Additionally, generalized improvement was shown across the narrative context, and improvements were maintained two months following the intervention.

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