WWC review of this study

Comparing the effects of morphosyntax and phonology intervention on final consonant clusters in finite morphemes and final consonant inventories.

Sweat, L. M. (2003). Masters Abstracts International, 42(01), 31-231.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    20
     Students
    , grade
    PK
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: June 2012

Communication/ Language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Final consonant clusters: Regular past tense

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Morphosyntactic intervention

Posttest

3 to 5 years old;
20 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
35
More Outcomes

Final consonant clusters: Contractible copula

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Morphosyntactic intervention

Posttest

3 to 5 years old;
20 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
32

Percentage added sounds to the final consonant inventory

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Morphosyntactic intervention

Posttest

3 to 5 years old;
20 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
15

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 10%
    Male: 90%

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    Nevada

Setting

The study was conducted in early childhood programs in four elementary schools in the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada.

Study sample

The study included 3- to 5-year-old children with morphosyntax and phonological impairments. To be eligible, the children had to meet the following criteria: (a) speech performance at least one standard deviation below the mean on the Bankson- Bernthal Test of Phonology; (b) expressive language scores at least one standard deviation below the mean on the Preschool Language Scale 3 or the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals– Preschool, or a score for mean length of utterances in morphemes greater than one and one-half standard deviations below the mean; (c) nonverbal cognitive functioning within one and one-half standard deviations from the mean on the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale; (d) normal functioning on oral motor assessment; and (e) normal functioning on neurological, behavioral, hearing, and motor skills. Twenty children (18 boys and two girls) were randomly assigned to either phonological awareness training or a morphosyntactic intervention.

Intervention Group

Children in the intervention group received phonological awareness training in weekly 30-minute group individual and 45-minute group sessions with clinicians over a 12-week period. Children were given four goals based on their initial speech and language results (e.g., phonetic inventory, sound classes affected). The goals were rotated and targeted three times over the 12-week period. The intervention included auditory awareness activities (such as listening to word lists and books that frequently used a targeted sound), conceptual activities (contrasting and classifying sounds), production practice (drills and imitation of phonetic placement), and phonological awareness activities (rhyme, sound identification). The intervention also included “naturalistic” activities, in which the clinician provided the child with opportunities to produce targeted sounds during conversations. The information in this report examined the children at the end of the 12-week block. As part of a larger study, children were then given the opposite intervention for another 12-week period (i.e., children receiving the phonological awareness training program in the first 12 weeks received the morphosyntactic intervention in the second 12-week period). The information for this additional contrast is not reported in this report, as this would only demonstrate intervention ordering effects. That is, the assessment at the 24-week period would only illustrate the effects of receiving the phonological awareness training first and then the morphosyntactic intervention second, relative to receiving morphosyntactic training first and then phonological awareness training second, and would only illustrate the effectiveness of the ordering of the interventions, not the independent effects of the interventions themselves.

Comparison Group

Children in the comparison group received the morphosyntactic intervention over the same 12-week period, with weekly 30-minute individual and 45-minute group sessions with clinicians. As with the intervention condition, children were given four goals, which were rotated and targeted three times during the 12-week period. For the morphosyntactic intervention, the goals were based on morphemes that the child produced with less than 50% accuracy during pretest. However, preference was given to goals that were similar for all children in the group, so the 50% accuracy rule was not always followed. The comparison group program used themes of food, animals, and water. The comparison condition included auditory awareness activities (books and songs with opportunities to produce the target sounds), focused stimulation activities (expansions of the children’s utterances), and elicited production activities (to encourage the use of target morphemes). Clinicians decreased their support over the 12-week period.

Outcome descriptions

Three eligible outcomes of children’s language were used. Two of the measures were based measurement on the final consonant clusters: regular past tense and contractible copula. The third was an inventory of final consonants. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Both the phonological awareness training and morphosyntactic interventions were led by four graduate student interns and four certified speech-language pathologists. No other information is provided.

 

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