Targeting Complex Sentences in Older School Children With Specific Language Impairment: Results From an Early-Phase Treatment Study Purpose This study investigated the effects of a complex sentence treatment at 2 dosage levels on language performance of 30 school-age children ages 10–14 years with specific language impairment. Method Three types of complex sentences (adverbial, object complement, relative) were taught in sequence in once or twice weekly ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 15, 2018
Targeting Complex Sentences in Older School Children With Specific Language Impairment: Results From an Early-Phase Treatment Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Catherine H. Balthazar
    Governors State University, University Park, IL
  • Cheryl M. Scott
    Rush University, Chicago, IL
  • 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 Catherine H. Balthazar: CBalthazar@govst.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Jan de Jong
    Editor: Jan de Jong×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 15, 2018
Targeting Complex Sentences in Older School Children With Specific Language Impairment: Results From an Early-Phase Treatment Study
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 713-728. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0105
History: Received March 21, 2017 , Revised August 1, 2017 , Accepted November 28, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 713-728. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0105
History: Received March 21, 2017; Revised August 1, 2017; Accepted November 28, 2017

Purpose This study investigated the effects of a complex sentence treatment at 2 dosage levels on language performance of 30 school-age children ages 10–14 years with specific language impairment.

Method Three types of complex sentences (adverbial, object complement, relative) were taught in sequence in once or twice weekly dosage conditions. Outcome measures included sentence probes administered at baseline, treatment, and posttreatment phases and comparisons of pre–post performance on oral and written language tests and tasks. Relationships between pretest variables and treatment outcomes were also explored.

Results Treatment was effective at improving performance on the sentence probes for the majority of participants; however, results differed by sentence type, with the largest effect sizes for adverbial and relative clauses. Significant and clinically meaningful pre–post treatment gains were found on a comprehensive oral language test, but not on reading and writing measures. There was no treatment advantage for the higher dosage group. Several significant correlations indicated a relationship between lower pretest scores and higher outcome measures.

Conclusions Results suggest that a focused intervention can produce improvements in complex sentence productions of older school children with language impairment. Future research should explore ways to maximize gains and extend impact to natural language contexts.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5923318

Acknowledgments
The Complex Sentence Intervention treatment protocol was developed with the support of Grant 1R15011165-01 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders, awarded to Catherine H. Balthazar and Cheryl M. Scott. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders or the National Institutes of Health. The authors wish to acknowledge the speech-language pathologists and graduate students who contributed to the development and delivery of the treatment protocol: Laura Anderson, Joy Bedell, Patty Boyd, Julie Burns, Sara Butler, Erica Fenton, Cynthia Loiterman, Robyn Maciejewski, Colleen Shanahan, Katie Stuepfert, Pat Tattersall, and, especially, Nicole Koonce and Claire Selin.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access