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Target selection for irregular past-tense verbs (Hannig Russell et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-07-20, 22:05 authored by Kirsten M. Hannig Russell, Amy Wilder, Julie Wambaugh

Purpose: Many children with developmental language disorder (DLD) demonstrate difficulty inflecting irregular past tense verbs. We evaluated using phonological-based patterns (i.e., schemas) to select targets for treatment of irregular verb inflection for children with DLD. We hypothesized this approach would result in acquisition of treated verbs, generalization to untreated verbs within the same phonological schema, and increased use of correct irregular verbs in naturalistic contexts.

Method: Treatment was provided to three 7-year-old participants with DLD in the context of multiple baseline designs across behaviors and participants. Phonological schemas included vowel change, final alveolar, and dual change irregular verbs. Treatment was provided using established therapeutic approaches, including narrative generation, sentence imitation, and naturalistic play activities. Acquisition of treated and untreated targets was assessed at the beginning of sessions, and use of verbs in naturalistic contexts was observed throughout treatment sessions.

Results: Positive acquisition effects were noted for two of three participants. Generalization to untreated items occurred within and across treatment sets for two participants, whereas increases in accurate irregular verb production in naturalistic contexts were not observed.

Conclusions: Outcomes demonstrated support for a pattern-based approach to target selection for treatment of irregular past tense verbs. One participant, who demonstrated general difficulty with the probe and treatment tasks, showed no treatment effect, suggesting that the treatment may be effective for some children with DLD. Further research is warranted to determine what factors might have influenced these variable outcomes across participants.

Supplemental Material S1. Target and generalization verbs for participants.

Supplemental Material S2. Sample probe for baseline and posttreatment phases.

Supplemental Material S3. Sample probe for treatment phase.

Supplemental Material S4. Sample treatment script.

Supplemental Material S5. Sample syntax story provided as part of the treatment script.

Supplemental Material S6. Sample recording and protocol fidelity chart.

Supplemental Material S7. Proportion of accurate irregular past tense verbs produced in narratives for Participant 1.

Supplemental Material S8. Proportion of accurate irregular past tense verbs produced in narratives for Participant 2.

Supplemental Material S9. Proportion of accurate irregular past tense verbs produced in narratives for Participant 3.

Hannig Russell, K. N., Wilder, A., & Wambaugh, J. L. (2023). Pattern-based target selection for treatment of irregular past tense: A single-case experimental design for children with developmental language disorder. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJSLP-22-00038

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