A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Syntactic Treatment Procedures With Cantonese-Speaking, School-Age Children With Language Disorders 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Syntactic Treatment Procedures With Cantonese-Speaking, School-Age Children With Language Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol K. S. To
    The University of Hong Kong
  • Hoi Ming Lui
    The University of Hong Kong
  • Xin Xin Li
    The University of Hong Kong
  • Gary Y. H. Lam
    The University of Hong Kong
  • 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 Carol K. S. To: tokitsum@hku.hk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Syntactic Treatment Procedures With Cantonese-Speaking, School-Age Children With Language Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1258-1272. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0140
History: Received May 24, 2014 , Revised October 27, 2014 , Accepted May 12, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1258-1272. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0140
History: Received May 24, 2014; Revised October 27, 2014; Accepted May 12, 2015

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.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong, General Research Fund Grant HKU 753610H awarded to Carol K. S. To. We thank the principals, children, and teachers who participated in the project. We also thank the school-based, speech-language pathologists Anita Kung, Piano Tam, and Ehrlich Deng for their kind assistance in the project. Special thanks are also extended to Louise Hui, Caroline Lee, and Barbara Tsui for their valuable help in participant recruitment as well as to I. Man Wong for her support in the preparation of the intervention materials. We are also very grateful to Judith Johnston for her valuable comments to an earlier version of the article.
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