Effects of a Complexity-Based Approach on Generalization of Past Tense –ed and Related Morphemes Purpose In a previous article, we reported that beginning treatment for regular past tense –ed with certain types of verbs led to greater generalization in children with developmental language disorder than beginning treatment with other types of verbs. This article provides updated data from that study, including the addition of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 14, 2018
Effects of a Complexity-Based Approach on Generalization of Past Tense –ed and Related Morphemes
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amanda J. Owen Van Horne
    University of Delaware, Newark
  • Maura Curran
    University of Delaware, Newark
  • Caroline Larson
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Marc E. Fey
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
  • 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 Amanda J. Owen Van Horne: ajovh@udel.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt
    Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt×
  • Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.
    Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 14, 2018
Effects of a Complexity-Based Approach on Generalization of Past Tense –ed and Related Morphemes
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 681-693. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0142
History: Received December 5, 2017 , Revised January 23, 2018 , Accepted February 26, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 681-693. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0142
History: Received December 5, 2017; Revised January 23, 2018; Accepted February 26, 2018

Purpose In a previous article, we reported that beginning treatment for regular past tense –ed with certain types of verbs led to greater generalization in children with developmental language disorder than beginning treatment with other types of verbs. This article provides updated data from that study, including the addition of data from 3 children, results from naturalistic language samples, and data from a third time point.

Method Twenty 4- to 9-year-old children with developmental language disorder (10 per condition) were randomly assigned to receive language intervention in which the verbs used to teach regular past tense –ed were manipulated. Half received easy first intervention, beginning with highly frequent, telic, phonologically simple verbs, and half received hard first intervention, beginning with less frequent, atelic, and phonologically complex verbs. The design used a train-to-criterion approach, with children receiving up to 36 visits. Performance was assessed using elicited production probes and language samples before intervention, immediately following intervention and 6–8 weeks later.

Results Children in the hard first group showed greater gains on the use of regular past tense –ed in both structured probes (at immediate post only) and in language samples (at both immediate and delayed post). Gains attributable to therapy were not observed in untreated morphemes.

Conclusions This study suggests that the choice of therapy materials, with an eye on the role that treatment stimuli play in generalization, is important for treatment efficacy. Clinicians should consider early selection of atelic, lower-frequency, phonologically complex verbs when teaching children to use regular past tense –ed. Further work expanding this to other morphemes and a larger population is needed to confirm this finding.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant K23-DC 013291 awarded to Amanda J. Owen Van Horne while she was at the University of Iowa. Stimuli development and pilot work was made possible through a grant from the ASHFoundation, awarded to Amanda J. Owen Van Horne. Lauren Seemann and Diane Buffo coordinated the intervention study and data management. Members of the Grammar Acquisition Lab at the University of Iowa assisted with intervention provision, data collection, transcription, and analysis. School districts across Iowa supported the recruitment process. We would especially like to thank the assistance provided by Augustana College (Alli Haskill); St. Ambrose University (Elisa Huff); Grantwood and Mississippi Bend Area Education Agencies; and the Iowa City, Grimes, and West Branch Community school districts for their help with recruiting participants, identifying intervention providers, and providing space to test participants.
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