Narrative assessment provides valuable information characterizing language abilities in monolingual and bilingual children, but whether it is sensitive to change remains unclear. There has been little research regarding whether treatment gains for bilingual children with Primary Language Impairment (PLI) are reflected in narrative measures. The purpose of this study is to determine whether quantitative narrative measures are sensitive to change in bilingual children with PLI following English-only therapy. The quantitative measures include number of clausal units (C-units), mean length of utterance (MLU), total number of words (TNW), number of different words (NDW), and grammaticality.
Researchers analyzed narratives in both languages from eight bilingual Spanish-English speaking school-aged children with PLI preceding and following English-only therapy. The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, a standardized measure of language, was administered in Spanish (CELF-S) and English (CELF-4) to confirm delays in both of the participants’ languages. A wordless picture book served as the stimulus for eliciting the narrative samples. Using the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), researchers
analyzed the samples for the five quantitative measures. On a group basis, only
the CELF-4 in English demonstrated statistically significant change. On an
individual basis, however, two participants in English and three in Spanish showed
gains of at least 10% on four or more of the six measures, most frequently the CELF scores, number of C-Units, TNW, and NDW. However, interpretation of the results was challenged by decreased reliability of MLU for older children, the treatment of code switching, and the global nature of the grammaticality measure. Future research addressing these issues is recommended.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Sensitivity of Quantitative Narrative Measures to Change Following English-Only Therapy in Bilingual Children with Primary Language Impairment.
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