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Explicit intervention for –ed in children with DLD (Calder et al., 2021)

Version 2 2021-01-19, 23:22
Version 1 2020-12-17, 21:28
journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-19, 23:22 authored by Samuel D. Calder, Mary Claessen, Susan EbbelsSusan Ebbels, Suze Leitão
Purpose: The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of a theoretically motivated explicit intervention approach to improve regular past tense marking for early school-age children with developmental language disorder (DLD).
Method: Twenty-one children with DLD (ages 5;9–6;9 [years;months]) were included in a crossover randomized controlled trial (intervention, n = 10; waiting control, n = 11). Intervention included once-weekly sessions over 10 weeks using the SHAPE CODING system, in combination with a systematic cueing hierarchy to teach past tense marking. Once the first group completed intervention, the waiting control group crossed over to the intervention condition. The primary outcome was criterion-referenced measures of past tense marking with standardized measures of expressive and receptive grammar as the secondary outcome. Ancillary analyses on extension and behavioral control measures of morphosyntax were also conducted.
Results: There was a significant Time × Group interaction (p < .001) with a significant difference in pre–post intervention improvement in favor of the intervention group (p < .001, d = 3.03). Further analysis once both groups had received the intervention revealed no improvement for either group on past tense production during the 5-week pre-intervention period, significant improvement pre–post intervention (p < .001, d = 1.22), with gains maintained for 5 weeks postintervention. No significant differences were found on pre- to postintervention standardized measures of grammar, or on extension or control measures.
Conclusions: The efficacy of the theoretically motivated explicit grammar intervention was demonstrated. Results contribute to the evidence base supporting this intervention to improve past tense production in early school-age children with DLD, suggesting it is a viable option for clinicians to select when treating morphosyntactic difficulties for this population.

Supplemental Material S1. 2010 checklist of information to include when reporting a randomised trial (Schulz, Altman, & Moher, 2010).

Supplemental Material S2. CONSORT 2010 flow diagram.

Supplemental Material S3. Intervention session plan and fidelity checklist (adapted from Calder, Claessen, Ebbels, & Leitão, 2020).

Supplemental Material S4. Session-by-session summary of intervention targets and materials.

Supplemental Material S5. Explicit intervention to improve past tense marking for early school-aged children with DLD template for intervention and description and replication (TIDieR; Hoffman et al., 2014) checklist.

Calder, S. D., Claessen, M., Ebbels, S., & Leitão, S. (2020). The efficacy of an explicit intervention approach to improve past tense marking for early school-age children with developmental language disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(1), 91-104.


The authors acknowledge the contribution of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in supporting this research.