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Title:Developmental expectations for child-like sentences
Author(s):McKenna, Megan
Advisor(s):Hadley, Pamela A.
Department / Program:Speech & Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech & Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Child language
sentence diversity
grammatical development
early intervention
speech-language pathology
Abstract:Purpose: The purpose of this project was to establish developmental sentence diversity expectations for children at 30 months of age. Two research questions were posed: (1) Is there a difference in the diversity of sentence subject types (i.e., first person singular, third person singular) at 30 months of age? (2) Is there a relationship between diversity of the selected sentence subject types and general measures of grammatical development? Methods: Forty typically-developing toddlers at 30 months of age were selected from an existing database (Rispoli & Hadley, 2008) to develop sentence diversity expectations. Parent-child 30-min language samples were used to code sentence subjects for person (i.e., first person, second person, third person) and number (i.e., singular, plural). Sentence diversity was examined by converting coded sentences to unique subject-verb combinations (USVs). Mean length of utterance in morphemes (MLU; Brown, 1973) and Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn; Scarborough, 1990) scores were calculated using 100 complete and intelligible utterances to determine the relationship between sentence diversity and general language measures. Results: There was not a significant difference between first person singular and third person singular USVs with the full sample, so a follow-up analysis was conducted by dividing the sample in half using the median MLU in morphemes at 30 months. This analysis revealed a significant difference between first person singular and third person singular USVs for the low MLU group, but not for the high MLU group. Low to moderate significant relationships were observed between first person USVs and both MLU and total IPSyn score at 30 months. A moderate to high significant correlation was observed between third person USVs and MLU, and a moderate significant correlation was observed with third person USVs and total IPSyn score. Clinical Application: Five at-risk 30-month-old toddlers were selected based on their 36 month scores on the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI; Rice & Wexler, 2001) to demonstrate the clinical usefulness of sentence diversity expectations. Criterion-referenced and norm-referenced cut-offs were presented to identify retrospective weaknesses in sentence production at 30 months of age. Discussion: Clinical usefulness of sentence diversity expectations and future research directions regarding sentence diversity are discussed.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Megan M. McKenna
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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