Article  |   August 2011
Initial Mean Length of Utterance Predicts the Relative Efficacy of Two Grammatical Treatments in Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paul J. Yoder
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Dennis Molfese
    University of Louisville, KY
    University of Louisville, KY
  • Elizabeth Gardner
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Correspondence to Paul Yoder: paul.yoder@vanderbilt.edu
  • Editor: Karla McGregor
    Editor: Karla McGregor×
  • Associate Editor: Carol Miller
    Associate Editor: Carol Miller×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language
Article   |   August 2011
Initial Mean Length of Utterance Predicts the Relative Efficacy of Two Grammatical Treatments in Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1170-1181. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0246)
History: Received November 14, 2009 , Revised April 15, 2010 , Accepted December 20, 2010
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1170-1181. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0246)
History: Received November 14, 2009; Revised April 15, 2010; Accepted December 20, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose: We sought to confirm predictions based on past findings that pretreatment mean length of utterance (MLU) would predict which of 2 grammatical treatments would best facilitate generalized and maintained grammatical development in preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI).

Method: The participants were 57 preschoolers with SLI. A randomized group experiment was used. The 2 grammatical treatments were broad target recasts (BTR) and milieu language teaching (MLT). MLU was assessed at Time 1 in 2 conversational language samples. Growth rate of productive grammar was quantified using growth curve modeling on the Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn) from 2 conversational language samples at each of 6 measurement periods.

Results: Predictions were confirmed for children with initially low MLU but not for children with initially high MLUs. MLT facilitated growth of grammar better than BTR in children who were initially in Brown’s stage I. Effects maintained 5 months after treatment ended.

Acknowledgments
The research was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC005994 and received support from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development Grant P30HD15052. We are grateful to Allison Cody-Swope, Noelle Hardin, Abigail Kirsch, Nicole Thompson, Rebecca Abel, Cher Savas, and Mary Camarata for their capable assessment and clinical work. We also thank Stephen Camarata, who provided helpful comments on the article. Mostly, we are grateful to the parents and children who participated in this research.
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