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Examples of Specific Prompts and Adult Responses During a Grammatical and Telegraphic Session (Bredin-Oja & Fey, 2014)

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posted on 2014-02-01, 00:00 authored by Shelley L. Bredin-Oja, Marc E. Fey
Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether children in the early stage of combining words are more likely to respond to imitation prompts that are telegraphic than to prompts that are grammatically complete and whether they produce obligatory grammatical morphemes more reliably in response to grammatically complete imitation prompts than to telegraphic prompts.
Method Five children between 30 and 51 months of age with language delay participated in a single-case alternating treatment design with 14 sessions split between a grammatical and a telegraphic condition. Alternating orders of the 14 sessions were randomly assigned to each child. Children were given 15 prompts to imitate a semantic relation that was either grammatically complete or telegraphic.
Results No differences between conditions were found for the number of responses that contained a semantic relation. In contrast, 3 of the 5 children produced significantly more grammatical morphemes when presented with grammatically complete imitation prompts. Two children did not include a function word in either condition.
Conclusion Providing a telegraphic prompt to imitate does not offer any advantage as an intervention technique. Children are just as likely to respond to a grammatically complete imitation prompt. Further, including function words encourages children who are developmentally ready to imitate them.


This study was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Center Grant P030 NICHD HD 002528. WE gratefully acknowledge Erin Schmitt for her contributions, and we thank the families who participated. Article is based on the doctoral dissertation of the first author. Data was previously presented in a poster session at the June 2013 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.


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    American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology



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