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Intervention for verb argument structure in children with persistent SLI: A Randomized control trial

Ebbels, SH; van der Lely, HKJ; Dockrell, JE; (2007) Intervention for verb argument structure in children with persistent SLI: A Randomized control trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 50 (5) pp. 1330-1349. 10.1044/1092-4388(2007/093). Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose: The authors aimed to establish whether 2 theoretically motivated interventions could improve use of verb argument structure in pupils with persistent specific language impairment (SLI). Method: Twenty-seven pupils with SLI (ages 11;0–16;1) participated in this randomized controlled trial with “blind” assessment. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 therapy groups: syntactic–semantic, semantic, and control. All pupils received 9 weekly half-hour individual therapy sessions. They were assessed on a specifically designed video test pretherapy, posttherapy, and at follow-up. Results: Pupils receiving the syntactic–semantic and semantic therapies made significant progress (d > 1.0), which was maintained at follow-up and generalized to control verbs. Both therapies improved linking of arguments to syntax, and the syntactic–semantic therapy tended to increase use of optional arguments. Pupils receiving the control therapy made no progress. Conclusion: Both methods of argument structure therapy were effective. Comparisons of their effectiveness in specific areas led to the hypotheses that the pupils' initial difficulties with linking resulted from ill-defined semantic representations, whereas their limited use of arguments may have resulted from syntactic difficulties. When therapy is theoretically grounded, it can inform theories, be time limited, and be effective for older children with SLI. Specific language impairment (SLI) is estimated to affect approximately 7% of children (Leonard, 1998; Tomblin et al., 1997). In many cases, the language impairment persists into early adolescence (Aram, Ekelman, & Nation, 1984; Beitchman, Wilson, Brownlie, Walters, & Lancee, 1996; Botting, Faragher, Simkin, Knox, & Conti-Ramsden, 2001), beyond into late adolescence (Stothard, Snowling, Bishop, Chipchase, & Kaplan, 1998; van der Lely, 2005), and eventually into adulthood (Clegg, Hollis, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2005; Johnson et al., 1999; Mawhood, Howlin, & Rutter, 2000). Yet, few studies have been published that investigate language intervention with school-aged children with SLI, particularly beyond the early school years. Despite evidence that persisting language impairments have severe effects both on children’s educational achievements (Aram & Nation, 1980; Clegg et al., 2005; Mawhood et al., 2000) and social adjustment (Clegg et al., 2005; Howlin, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2000; Silva, Williams, & McGee, 1987), few regions in the United Kingdom provide direct intervention for children older than 11 years (Lindsay, Dockrell, Mackie, & Letchford, 2005). This situation is unlikely to change until more evidence of the effectiveness of intervention with older children is available.

Type: Article
Title: Intervention for verb argument structure in children with persistent SLI: A Randomized control trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2007/093)
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2007/093)
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111888
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