Predictors of Language Gains Among School-Age Children With Language Impairment in the Public Schools Purpose This study aimed to identify child-level characteristics that predict gains in language skills for children with language impairment who were receiving therapy within the public schools. The therapy provided represented business-as-usual speech/language treatment provided by speech-language pathologists in the public schools. Method The sample included 272 kindergartners ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 10, 2017
Predictors of Language Gains Among School-Age Children With Language Impairment in the Public Schools
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura M. Justice
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Hui Jiang
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Jessica A. Logan
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Mary Beth Schmitt
    Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • 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 Laura M. Justice: justice.57@osu.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Patricia Eadie
    Associate Editor: Patricia Eadie×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 10, 2017
Predictors of Language Gains Among School-Age Children With Language Impairment in the Public Schools
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1590-1605. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0026
History: Received January 21, 2016 , Revised June 30, 2016 , Accepted November 11, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1590-1605. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0026
History: Received January 21, 2016; Revised June 30, 2016; Accepted November 11, 2016

Purpose This study aimed to identify child-level characteristics that predict gains in language skills for children with language impairment who were receiving therapy within the public schools. The therapy provided represented business-as-usual speech/language treatment provided by speech-language pathologists in the public schools.

Method The sample included 272 kindergartners and first-graders with language impairment who participated in a larger study titled “Speech-Therapy Experiences in the Public Schools.” Multilevel regression analyses were applied to examine the extent to which select child-level characteristics, including age, nonverbal cognition, memory, phonological awareness, vocabulary, behavior problems, and self-regulation, predicted children's language gains over an academic year. Pratt indices were computed to establish the relative importance of the predictors of interest.

Results Phonological awareness and vocabulary skill related to greater gains in language skills, and together they accounted for nearly 70% of the explained variance, or 10% of total variance at child level. Externalizing behavior, nonverbal cognition, and age were also potentially important predictors of language gains.

Conclusions This study significantly advances our understanding of the characteristics of children that may contribute to their language gains while receiving therapy in the public schools. Researchers can explore how these characteristics may serve to moderate treatment outcomes, whereas clinicians can assess how these characteristics may factor into understanding treatment responses.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to the numerous speech-language pathologists, families, and children who participated in the original research utilized in this study. The original research was supported by Grant R324A090012 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, to Laura M. Justice.
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