Exploring the Outcomes of a Novel Computer-Assisted Treatment Program Targeting Expressive-Grammar Deficits in Preschoolers with SLI
Journal of Communication Disorders Volume 44, Number 3, ISSN 0021-9924
Purpose: The impact of a newly designed computer-assisted treatment ("C-AT") program, "My Sentence Builder", for the remediation of expressive-grammar deficits in children with specific language impairment (SLI) was explored. This program was specifically designed with features to directly address expressive-grammar difficulties, thought to be associated with hypothesized deficits in verbal working memory (VWM). Method: Thirty-four preschoolers with deficits in expressive-grammar morphology participated. Using the randomization procedure of consecutive sampling, participants were recruited. Twenty-two participants were consecutively assigned to one of two treatment groups, "C-AT" or non "C-AT" ("nC-AT"). The "nC-AT" utilized conventional language stimulation procedures containing features which have been traditionally used to address expressive-grammar deficits. A group of equivalent children awaiting treatment and chosen from the same sample of children as the treatment participants served as a control group. Blind assessments of outcomes were completed pre-, post-, and 3-months post-treatment in a formal and informal context. Results: "C-AT" and "nC-AT" participants significantly outperformed controls pre-to-post to 3-months post-treatment in both assessment contexts. No significant differences in treatment gains were found between "C-AT" and "nC-AT." Conclusion: Results suggested that treatments designed to directly address expressive-grammar deficits were better than no treatment for preschool SLI. Further, use of a "C-AT" program may be another feasible treatment method for this disorder population. Learning outcomes: As a result of this activity, the reader will recognize that: (1) expressive-grammar treatment is better than no treatment for immediate and continued language growth, (2) use of a "C-AT" program containing specific features designed to directly address expressive-grammar deficits is another viable, but not necessarily a better treatment option for the remediation of expressive-grammar deficits in preschool children with SLI, and (3) different outcome contexts yield distinct yet equally important findings about growth in children's expressive-grammar skills with treatment. (Contains 3 figures and 1 table.)
Washington, K.N., Warr-Leeper, G. & Thomas-Stonell, N. (2011). Exploring the Outcomes of a Novel Computer-Assisted Treatment Program Targeting Expressive-Grammar Deficits in Preschoolers with SLI. Journal of Communication Disorders, 44(3), 315-330.