Three Treatments for Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment: Examining Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Domain Effects Purpose This study examines the absolute and relative effects of 3 different treatment programs for school-age bilingual children with primary or specific language impairment (PLI). It serves to expand the evidence base on which service providers can base treatment decisions. It also explores hypothesized relations between languages and cognition in ... Research Article
EDITOR'S AWARD
Research Article  |   February 01, 2014
Three Treatments for Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment: Examining Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Domain Effects
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kerry Danahy Ebert
    Rush University, Chicago, IL
  • Kathryn Kohnert
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Giang Pham
    University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Jill Rentmeester Disher
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Bita Payesteh
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Kerry Danahy Ebert: Kerry_Ebert@rush.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2014
Three Treatments for Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment: Examining Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Domain Effects
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 172-186. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0388)
History: Received December 3, 2012 , Revised March 11, 2013 , Accepted May 14, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 172-186. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0388)
History: Received December 3, 2012; Revised March 11, 2013; Accepted May 14, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose This study examines the absolute and relative effects of 3 different treatment programs for school-age bilingual children with primary or specific language impairment (PLI). It serves to expand the evidence base on which service providers can base treatment decisions. It also explores hypothesized relations between languages and cognition in bilinguals with PLI.

Method Fifty-nine school-age Spanish–English bilingual children with PLI were assigned to receive nonlinguistic cognitive processing, English, bilingual (Spanish–English), or deferred treatment. Participants in each of the 3 active treatments received treatment administered by nationally certified speech-language pathologists. Pre- and post-treatment assessments measured change in nonlinguistic cognitive processing, English, and Spanish skills, and analyses examined change within and across both treatment groups and skill domains.

Results All active treatment groups made significant pre- to post-treatment improvement on multiple outcome measures. There were fewer significant changes in Spanish than in English across groups. Between-group comparisons indicate that the active treatment groups generally outperformed the deferred treatment control, reaching statistical significance for 2 tasks.

Conclusion Results provide insight into cross-language transfer in bilingual children and advance understanding of the general PLI profile with respect to relationships between basic cognitive processing and higher level language skills.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD R21DC010868) awarded to Kathryn Kohnert, by an NIDCD R21 Postdoctoral Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research to Giang Pham, and by a University of Minnesota Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship awarded to Kerry Danahy Ebert. Portions of this study were presented at the 2011 Conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in San Diego, CA, and at the 2012 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI. This study would not have been possible without the efforts of Frank Cirrin and the faculty, staff, and administrators in the Minneapolis Public Schools. We are also grateful for the efforts of many project research assistants: Maura Arnoldy, Shana Banas, Zuleika Billington, Sheila Cina, Bao Dang, Mary DeChamps, Irene Duong, Jasmine Egli, Kristie Gonzalez, Laura Grueber, Christina Heinzen, Abby Hoffman, Courtney Huerth, Meg Introwitz-Williams, Daniel Jakab, Megan Jirschele, Phyllip Johnson, Jennifer Johnston, Laura Kawatski, Malka Key, Angie Luther, Olivia Matthys, Andrea Morales, Nicole Root, Jamie Schmidt, Bethany St. Martin, and Alycia Wagner. We thank Cheryl Scott for helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. Finally, we thank the participants and their families.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access