Authors: Nicholas K, Plante E, Gomez R, Vance R
Title: The Role of Spontaneous Repetitions During Treatment of Morphosyntactic Forms for Children With Developmental Language Disorder
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2021 64(10): 3995-4003
Year: 2021
Research Design: Case Series

Purpose: Children with developmental language disorder sometimes spontaneously repeat clinician models of morphemes targeted for treatment. We examine how spontaneous repeating of clinician models in the form of recasts associates with improved child production of those emerging morphemes. Method: Forty-seven preschool children with developmental language disorder participated in Enhanced Conversational Recast therapy and were monitored for spontaneous repetitions of morphemes modeled by the clinician through conversational recasting. We calculated proportion of correct and incorrect productions elicited during treatment and for generalization probes as well as treatment effect sizes. We then used odds ratios to determine the probability that a spontaneous repetition may precede treatment gains and calculated correlations of correct repetitions with correct in-treatment productions of targets and treatment effect sizes. Results: Spontaneous repetitions were highly likely to happen just prior to meaningful treatment progress. Children with higher frequencies of correct spontaneous repetitions of morpheme targets also showed higher frequencies of correct productions of these forms during the course of treatment. Furthermore, children with an earlier onset of repetitions and higher frequencies of correct repetitions showed overall larger effect sizes at the end of treatment. Conclusions: Children's use of correct forms in their repetitions may serve as a self-scaffold for mastering productions of the correct form via structural priming mechanisms. Tracking spontaneously repeated targets may be a useful milestone for identifying response to treatment.

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