2021 Poster Sessions

Looking for a specific Poster Session? 

Poster Session #1


Language Comprehension Profiles of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Mexico. A Pilot Study

            Andrea Amaya- Arzaga; Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
            Donna Jackson- Maldonado; Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
            Ofelia González; Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
            Elsa Vargas; Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro

Deaf education in different countries and cultures is very diverse. In Mexico, most intervention is through oral programs, though bimodal/bilingual programs are increasing. Few children under the age of 4 have implants and hearing aid (HA) use begins after the critical period. This study analyzes vocabulary and syntactic comprehension in a group of children between 4:7 and 9:8 with diverse age of intervention and HA use. Two comprehensive language measures were used. Overall, children fell well below age equivalence or were below the 1st percentile on the tests. Therefore, in Mexico linguistic profiles for this group of oral deaf participants were extremely low and more attention is required to begin intervention and hearing aid or CI at an early age. This study was funded by the National Counsil of Science and Technology (CONACyT), through the PNPC scholarships for doctoral studies (México).


A preliminary analysis of a narrative composite from the Children’s Communication Checklist-2

            Andrea Ash; University of Utah
            Jacie Meldrum; University of Utah
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah

Purpose: The objective of this study was to develop a narrative composite from an existing screening tool and determine its association with a standardized behavioral measure of narrative abilities. Method: We identified 10 items from the Children’s Communication Checklist-2nd edition (CCC-2) that aligned with the content of the Test of Narrative Language Assessment – 2nd edition (TNL-2) and compiled them into a composite. 53 children recruited from public schools for a longitudinal study of language development were administered the TNL-2. Their caregivers completed the CCC-2. Correlational analyses were used to determine levels of association among the narrative composite and the TNL-2 subscales. Results: A Cronbach’s alpha of .92 confirmed our composite’s internal consistency. Our narrative composite was moderately correlated with children’s scores on the TNL-2 subscales (Range: -.34 to -.49). Conclusion: Our narrative composite, while moderately correlated with the TNL-2, was not sufficient to predict children’s performances on the TNL-2.


Is parent report of early school-age children’s language use as reliable as we think?

            Alisa Baron; University of Rhode Island
            Gabrielle Zeyl; University of Rhode Island
            Vanessa Harwood; University of Rhode Island

Parent report is used as a valid and reliable measure of a child’s language profile. However, previous research suggests that parent report measures of input may underestimate the amount of English a child hears. We use The Language ENvironment Analysis (LENA) System, to directly record a child’s language environment in order to account for the actual amount of language a child is exposed to. By using a LENA with both English monolinguals and English-Spanish bilinguals, the quantity and quality of language exposure and use can be measured and compared. Monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual school-age children matched on age, gender and socioeconomic status are included in this study. The language used, child-directed speech, and the utterance duration based on language is coded by hand using the audio obtained by the LENA System. Understanding the validity and reliability of parent in measuring an important aspect of bilingualism has both significant clinical and research benefits.

Funding source: Rhode Island Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103430


Children with Cochlear Implants Use Semantic Prediction Less Than Vocabulary-Matched Children with Normal Hearing

            Christina Blomquist; University of Maryland, College Park
            Rochelle Newman; University of Maryland, College Park
            Yi Ting Huang; University of Maryland, College Park
            Jan Edwards; University of Maryland, College Park

Children with cochlear implants (CIs) frequently have difficulty with spoken language comprehension, including online measures of language processing. Children with CIs recognize words less efficiently than children with NH, but it is unclear how these inefficiencies impact higher-level language processing. This study investigates semantic prediction during sentence comprehension by 24 5- to-10-year-old children with CIs, comparing performance to both an age-matched group and vocabulary-matched group of children with NH. Children listened to sentences with either a predictive or neutral verb (The brother draws/gets the small picture) while eye gaze was recorded to images on a screen (target [picture], cohort [pickle], unrelated distractors [cookies, costume]). Children with CIs used semantic cues to facilitate recognition of upcoming words, but did so less efficiently than children with NH, even when matched for vocabulary ability. Children with CIs experience challenges in spoken language processing above and beyond limitations from delayed vocabulary development. Top-down prediction strategies may be a helpful tool in compensating for uncertainty in the acoustic signal. [Supported by NSF grant #1449815 to Colin Philips and IES grant R305A170139 to Jan Edwards]


Family GAMEs – Can a baby’s neural response inform us about future language development?

            Catherine Bush; Hearing & Speech Sciences
            Eniko Ladanyi; Otolaryngology
            Olivia Boorom; Hearing & Speech Sciences
            Youjia Wang; Otolaryngology
            Tiffany Woynaroski; Hearing & Speech Sciences
            Miriam Lense; Otolaryngology
            Reyna Gordon; Otolaryngology

Rhythm and speech-language skills have been found to be associated in multiple studies. Additionally, both rhythm and speech-language skills show a moderate heritability. In Family GAMEs (Grammar And Music Exercises for the whole family), our longitudinal study in 80 infant-parent dyads, we explore whether speech-language development could be predicted by rhythm skills at infancy and/or the rhythm skills of the parent. In the first, currently ongoing phase of the project, we measure rhythm processing in 6-12 month-old infants and their parents with an EEG task as well as behaviorally in parents. In the second phase, infant’s language is measured at 12, 18, 24, and 36 months with the MB-CDI. In the third phase, speech-language abilities and nonverbal IQ will be measured with standardized tests when children turn 4. The poster will summarize the project’s structure and aims, and results from the first phase. This work carries the potential to discover prodromal markers of language impairment in much younger ages than are currently being identified with available screening methods. Our research is funded by NIH (1DP2HD098859) and NSF (1926794).


Language Maintenance in Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorders

            Anny Castilla-Earls; University of Houston
            Juliana Ronderos; University of Houston

Spanish-speaking children in the U.S. typically acquire Spanish as their first language at home and begin learning English when they enroll in school. During the school years, there is a gradual shift in language dominance from Spanish to English. This shift in language proficiency has important implications for language assessment practices, but it is not well documented in the literature. In this study, we examined the development of Spanish and English language skills in a group of 93 bilinguals with and without developmental language disorders at two points in time over a period of approximately 15 months. Using MLM, we examined the effect of age, maternal education, delivery (in-person vs. telehealth), and language status on morphosyntactic and receptive vocabulary standardized measures. Our results suggest that bilingual children show an increase in English morphosyntactic and vocabulary skills overtime. In Spanish, receptive vocabulary remained stable while morphosyntactic skills decreased over the same period. The results from this study suggest that skills in the minority language, particularly morphosyntax skills, are vulnerable to decline in bilingual children.

This research was supported by NIH Grant 1K23DC015835-01 awarded to Dr. Anny Castilla-Earls.


The Underlying Subcomponents of Sentence Repetition in Assessing Children with Developmental Language Disorders

            Soyeon Chun; Penn State University
            Carol Miller; Penn State University

Sentence repetition has been used widely as an effective screening tool to assess children with developmental language disorders (DLD). However, compared to its clinical use, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that enable the task to tap the deficits in children with DLD, mainly due to complex characteristics of the task. Therefore, the purpose of the review is to understand the task characteristics that allow it to be an effective screening tool, by inspecting the task from four different viewpoints: (a) sentence (linguistic characteristics of the task), (b) repetition (cognitive aspects of the task), (c) chunking (integrating processes of the task), (d) scoring (interpretations of the task results). This review included previous studies on sentence repetition in individuals with typical language development and children with DLD. This study concluded that a variety of linguistic and cognitive characteristics of sentence repetition affect the task results in different ways depending on the difficulties of target sentences and the participants’ cognitive-linguistic deficits.


Pediatric Altered Auditory Feedback: A Scoping Review

            Caitlin Coughler; University of Western Ontario
            Keelia Quinn de Launay; Bloorview Research Institute, University of Toronto
            David Purcell; University of Western Ontario
            Deryk Beal; Bloorview Research Institute, University of Toronto
            Janis Cardy; University of Western Ontario

Auditory feedback plays a key role in the acquisition and maintenance of fluent speech and language. Despite this, little is known about the developing speech motor control system, in particular if and how auditory feedback control may differ across development. Altered auditory feedback paradigms, where acoustic parameters (i.e., pitch, formants) of an individual’s auditory feedback is manipulated in real-time during vocal productions, and the magnitude, direction of the compensatory responses to these shifts is studied, provides insight into auditory feedback control and sensorimotor learning. The current scoping review explored how frequency altered auditory feedback has been studied in pediatric populations. Six academic databases were systematically searched for articles that included (a) real-time perturbation of frequency auditory input, (b) an analysis of immediate effects on speech, and (c) a pediatric population. Nineteen articles were retrieved, which used manipulations of fundamental frequency (9), formant frequency (10), and frequency centroid of fricatives (1). Results suggested maturational changes of speech sensorimotor control occur across development, with aberrant responses evident in clinical populations with speech and language difficulties (i.e., speech sound disorder, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder).


Is oral bilingualism an advantage for word learning in children with hearing loss?

            Beatriz de Diego-Lázaro; Midwestern University
            Andrea Pittman; Arizona State University
            Maria Adelaida Restrepo; Arizona State University

Children with hearing loss show poorer word learning abilities than children with normal hearing. On the other hand, previous studies have found that bilingual children outperform monolinguals in word-learning tasks. The purpose of this study was to examine whether bilingualism could be an advantage for children with hearing loss when learning new words. Seventy-three children between 8 and 12 years of age participated in the study (20 monolingual and 20 bilingual with normal hearing and 20 monolingual and 13 bilingual with hearing loss). We measured children’s word learning on the day of the training and retention on the next day using an auditory recognition task. When compared to hearing peers, children with hearing loss learned and remember fewer words. Bilingualism was neither an advantage nor a disadvantage for word learning. However, hearing loss equally impaired word learning for both monolingual and bilingual children. This work has been supported by the Society for Research in Child Development and by the Knowles Leadership Fund.


Efficacy of Pathways Early Autism Intervention in Improving Social Sophistication of Communication in Toddlers with ASD

            Adrienne De Froy; University of Texas at Dallas
            Pamela Rosenthal Rollins; University of Texas at Dallas

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Pathways Early Autism Intervention (Pathways) in improving the social sophistication of communicative behaviors in a culturally diverse sample of toddlers with ASD as compared to community-based treatment as usual (TAU). Data from a 12-week randomized control trial were analyzed. Communicative acts (CAs) of 56 toddlers with autism (Pathways n = 32, TAU n = 24) ages 18 to 39 months and a caregiver were extracted from 10-minute caregiver-toddler play interactions obtained before and after intervention. CAs were analyzed for communicative intention and coordination of communicative behaviors. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed, in comparison to TAU, toddlers in the Pathways group exhibited greater growth in communicative acts consisting of coordinated behaviors (e.g., word and gesture), particularly those occurring within the communicative intention of Behavior Regulation. Results indicate Pathways is an effective intervention for improving the social sophistication of communicative behaviors in toddlers with ASD as compared to community-based treatment as usual.

Funding: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


Statistical Learning in Developmental Language Disorder Across Modalities and Domains

            Dorottya Dobó; 1. Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary; 2. MTA-BME Lendület Language Acquisition Research Group, Budapest, Hungary
            Krisztina Sára Lukics; 1. Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary; 2. MTA-BME Lendület Language Acquisition Research Group, Budapest, Hungary
            Ágnes Lukács; 1. Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary; 2. MTA-BME Lendület Language Acquisition Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

The vulnerability of statistical learning (SL) in developmental language disorder (DLD) has mainly been demonstrated with metacognitive offline measures which give little insight into the more specific nature and timing of learning. We explored SL in school-age DLD (n=20) and control (n=20) children in acoustic verbal and visual nonverbal segmentation tasks with online (reaction times; RT) and offline (two-alternative forced choice; 2AFC) measures. Learning was evident in both groups in both online and acoustic offline measures, while the DLD group performed at chance in the visual offline task. Both accuracy and RT patterns showed significantly slower and less effective SL in DLD than in TD. There was an acoustic verbal advantage present in both TD and DLD. Our findings suggest that DLD children show impaired SL across modalities and domains, which is more pronounced in the acoustic verbal modality. They also imply that online measures provide more sensitive and valid indices of SL than offline tasks, and are better suited for testing SL in children.


Measuring Foundational Literacy Skills in Children with Speech Sound Disorder: A Scoping Review

            Anna Ehrhorn; University of South Carolina
            Suzanne Adlof; University of South Carolina

Children with speech sound disorder (SSD) are at-risk for a reading disorder, but not all experience reading difficulties. SSD frequently co-occurs with broader language difficulties (e.g., developmental language disorder, DLD), and research suggests that combined SSD+DLD increases risk for reading difficulties. Due to their phonological deficit, literacy research in SSD has focused on phonological awareness skills. However, phonology is only one component necessary to read a word. Skilled word reading also relies on orthographic knowledge and morphological awareness. This poster will present a scoping literature review that examined (1) how foundational literacy skills have been measured in SSD research, and (2) the extent that past studies of foundational literacy skills in children with SSD have accounted for language ability. The results indicate that future studies should examine foundational literacy skills beyond phonological awareness and include comprehensive measures of language ability. Through these recommendations, we may better understand the relations between speech, language, and reading skills and improve the identification of risk for reading difficulties in children with SSD. This research was supported by NIH Grant R01DC017156.


Cross-domain and Cross-linguistic Effects in Spanish-English Bilingual Preschool-aged Children Following Spanish Phonology Intervention

            Alicia Escobedo; San Diego State University/UC San Diego
            Philip Combiths; San Diego State University/UC San Diego
            Irina Potapova; San Diego State University
            Jessica Barlow; San Diego State University
            Sonja Pruitt-Lord; San Diego State University

Language acquisition theories suggest that the domains of language are interacting systems that influence one another (Levelt, 1989). These theories imply that targeting one domain in intervention could lead to change in a connected domain. Relatedly, theories of cross-linguistic interaction suggest that targeting one domain in one language could lead to change in a different language, and this interaction has been well established in intervention studies (Barlow & Enriquez, 2007; Edmonds & Kiran, 2006). Research on cross-domain effects has largely focused on monolingual English-speaking children, and thus, little is known about these effects in bilingual children. The current study examines cross-domain and cross-linguistic effects in a sample of preschool-aged Spanish-English bilingual children who completed phonological intervention. Results suggest that children improved in their phonological skills in both languages following intervention. However, results also suggest that evidence for cross-domain effects is contingent upon the measure of morphological skill used. The results of this study will provide valuable information on the interaction between phonology and morphology within and across languages in preschool-aged bilingual children. Funding: NIDCD R21 DC017201 and NIDCD F31 DC017697.


Same or different? Language skills of children with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and children with Developmental Language Disorder

            Emma Everaert; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University

            Iris Selten; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University

            Tessel Boerma; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University

            Marieke Huls; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University

Michiel Houben; Department of Pediatrics, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht
Jacob Vorstman; Department of Psychiatry, Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Ellen Gerrits; HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht   Frank Wijnen; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University

Children with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) regularly present with speech problems resulting from anatomical anomalies. Although language delays are frequently reported, little is known about the specifics of early language development in these children. Therefore, the first aim of this study is to gain more insight into the language abilities of 3- to 6-year-old children with 22q11DS.

The second aim is to compare the severity of their language difficulties to those of children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) using standardized language assessment. We think such comparisons can be a first step in furthering our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of language impairment.

Our results show that children with 22q11DS have below average language scores. Their receptive language scores were lower than those of children with DLD, whereas overall and expressive language outcomes did not differ between the groups. Expressive language abilities were significantly lower than receptive abilities in both groups, but this difference was smaller in the 22q11DS group. We will present a detailed discussion of outcomes and implications. This research was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).


The slow development of fine-grained speech perception skills: Implications for language and reading

            Alexandra Fell; University of Iowa
            Jamie Klein-Packard; University of Iowa
            Sneh Jhaveri; University of Iowa
            Bruce Tomlin; University of Iowa
            Bob McMurray; University of Iowa
            Keith Apfelbaum; University of Iowa

Contrary to the canonical view, it is now understood that speech categories develop well into adolescence and throughout the early school years, a time when language and reading skills are rapidly changing. Thus, understanding this development is critical for understanding language and literacy development. In the current study, first to third grade children underwent a novel gradient speech category measure which measures perception of stimuli that vary along a continuum. They also completed several measures of language, phonological processing and reading ability. Intriguing preliminary findings (n=30) show an interaction between grade level and categorization, indicating that phoneme categories become sharper during this time period. Additionally, these data show an interaction between language ability and categorization, indicating that basic phonemic categorization abilities are related to high-level measures of phonological processing. These results highlight the critical importance of studying how phonetic categorization develops as language and literacy grow, and how individual differences in language abilities reflect underlying phonetic processing abilities. Funding for this project was provided by NIH DC008089.


Past Participle Verb Coding in Language Sample Analysis for African American Children

            Denise Finneran; University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
            Sixia Chen; University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
            John Heilmann; University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
            Maura Moyle; Marquette University

Past participle verbs (e.g., seen, broken) occur in the language samples of young children but might not be correctly identified during analysis.  Furthermore, past participle usage in African American English (AAE; e.g., I had saw it) has some variation from Mainstream American English (MAE). We examined narrative language sample transcripts for young African American children to see how past participle coding methods affects measures of vocabulary, grammar, and AAE. We looked at 49 retrospective narrative language sample transcripts from African American children (Mage = 53.55 months) who spoke AAE. We coded transcripts in two ways, one that did not include past participle use and the other that included these features. We found that coding methodology had clinically significant effects on lexical diversity (as measured by type-token ratio), MLU, and AAE (as measured by the Dialect Density Measure). We concluded that it is important to consider the coding method used for past participle verbs in language sampling analysis. This research was funded by the Gullatt Professorship of Speech Pathology at OUHSC.


An evaluation of expedited transcription methods for school-age children’s narrative language: Automated speech recognition & real-time transcription

            Carly Fox; Utah State University
            Sandra Gillam; Utah State University
            Megan Israelsen-Augenstein; Utah State University
            Sharad Jones; Utah State University
            Ronald Gillam; Utah State University

In this study the accuracy and reliability of two expedited transcription methods were evaluated for reducing time spent in transcription of narrative language samples elicited from school-age children (7;5-11;10) with developmental language disorder (DLD). Transcription methods included real-time transcription (RTT) from speech language pathologists (SLPs), trained transcribers (TTs), and automatic speech recognition (ASR). Each method was used to transcribe the same 42 language samples, which were compared to reference transcripts produced using traditional transcription. Results indicated non-significant differences in RTT accuracy between SLPs and TTs, while ASR was significantly more accurate than RTT from either source. The reliability of scores produced using each transcription method against the reference transcripts was evaluated on TNU, MLU-words, NDW, NTW and TTR from a SALT Standard Measures Report. Pearson correlations revealed ASR was more reliable than RTT across all 5 metrics. These findings suggest that ASR is a valid and reliable solution for reducing time spent transcribing narrative language samples of school-age children with DLD. This research was funded by the Graduate Research & Creative Opportunities Grant awarded by Utah State University.


Longitudinal Predictors of Word Reading for Children with Williams Syndrome

            Caroline Greiner de Magalhães; University of Louisville
            Cláudia Cardoso-Martins; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
            Carolyn Mervis; University of Louisville

We examined the longitudinal predictors of word reading ability in 69 children with Williams syndrome (WS). Reading instruction method (“Systematic Phonics” vs. “Other”) and children’s phonological processing (PP), nonverbal reasoning, visual-spatial and vocabulary skills were assessed at Time 1 (Mean=6.53 years) and word reading ability at Time 2 (Mean=9.47 years). Time 1 predictors explained 76% of the variance in Time 2 word reading ability. Reading instruction method, PP, and visual-spatial skills each accounted for significant unique variance. A follow-up analysis showed that the contribution of PP to word reading was attributable to individual differences in blending and phoneme identity and segmentation skills. Our findings confirm the importance of phoneme awareness for reading acquisition and suggest that, similar to what has been found for typically developing children, children with WS benefit from explicit phonics instruction to learn to read. These results also speak to the importance of visual-spatial skills in early reading acquisition. These skills likely provide the foundation for learning letter shapes and letter patterns, an important component of learning to read and spell.

Funding: Williams Syndrome Association#0004,#0111, NICHD#R37-HD29957, NINDS#R01-NS35102.


Feedback processing in children with developmental language disorder, a time-frequency analysis

Asiya Gul; MGH Institute of Health Professions, Cognitive Neuroscience Group
Isabel Fitzpatrick; MGH Institute of Health Professions, Cognitive Neuroscience Group
Yael Arbel; MGH Institute of Health Professions, Cognitive Neuroscience Group

The ability to use feedback as a performance guidance is crucial for learning. Based on prior evidence of impaired feedback processing in children with developmental language disorder (DLD) in the context of declarative learning, the reported study was aimed at expanding this examination to other learning paradigms. Electrophysiological data were collected which children with and without DLD completed a probabilistic classification task. Event-related potentials and oscillatory data were evaluated in relation to the presentation of performance positive and negative feedback. More specifically, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) in the time-domain and the midfrontal theta oscillatory activity the in time-frequency domain which are considered the neural signatures of feedback processing were examined. Preliminary results revealed differences in the neural oscillatory activity between the groups, particularly in response to negative feedback.


Characterizing Receptive Vocabulary Profiles in Minimally Verbal Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Eileen Haebig; Louisiana State University
            Allison Menting; Louisiana State University

The majority of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience early language delays; approximately 30% continue to be minimally verbal throughout childhood. The current study examined the syntactic and semantic features of the early words that 31 minimally verbal (MV) children with ASD were reported to understand. This receptive vocabulary profile was compared to 124 typically developing (TD) toddlers who were matched on expressive vocabulary and 124 TD toddlers who were matched on receptive vocabulary. Word-level responses that were reported on the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory were examined. The MV children with ASD understood a greater proportion of verbs, relative to both the TD groups. Numerous additional differences existed between the MV-ASD group and the TD expressive vocabulary-matched group. In contrast, with only two exceptions, MV children with ASD displayed a similar receptive vocabulary profile to the TD receptive vocabulary-matched group. These similarities existed despite large differences in expressive vocabulary knowledge, chronological age, and mental age.  These findings suggest that future studies should examine early verb learning and processing in MV children with ASD.

Funding: Louisiana State University start-up funds


Evaluating scoring systems in language samples for preschool children who speak African American English

            Alison Hendricks; University at Buffalo
            Ling-Yu Guo; University at Buffalo
            Jillian Jerard; University at Buffalo

Measures of grammatical accuracy in language samples, such as percent grammatical utterances (PGU) have been shown to be have acceptable to good diagnostic accuracy for children who speak mainstream American English dialects. However, this has not been tested in children who speak nonmainstream American English dialects, such as African American English (AAE). This study assessed whether PGU, including unmodified and modified scoring systems, is associated with language ability in preschool children who speak AAE. Correlational analyses indicated a significant relationship between PGU and the reference measure for the unmodified condition and two strategic scoring systems, but not for the full modification. PGU appears to be a valid measure of language ability among children who speak AAE, but modified scoring may make it difficult to differentiate between children with different language abilities.


Interventions that Affect Narrative Language in School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses

            Alison Hessling; Baylor University
            Danielle L. Pico; University of Florida
            Christa Haring Biel; Utah State University
            Amy Peterson; Utah State University

Rationale: This systematic review with meta-analyses focuses on interventions with narrative language outcomes for pre-school and elementary-aged children. Methods: We searched electronic databases, published reviews, and consulted experts in the field to identify studies. We analyze risk of bias and provide a qualitative synthesis of study factors for all identified studies. We report results of meta-analyses for the 26 included studies that had sufficient data. Results: Our search yielded 40 studies that included narrative language outcomes; 20 group design studies and 20 single case designs (SCDs). Studies were analyzed for narrative production or comprehension outcomes. The meta-analyses indicated positive effects of the interventions, with effect sizes of d = 0.50 (comprehension) and 0.54 (production) in the group studies, and d = 1.24 (production) in the SCDs. Conclusions: The results indicate that a variety of interventions are effective at improving narrative production and comprehension outcomes in children with diverse learner characteristics. Published reports of interventions with narrative-focused outcomes have increased in recent years with implementation of interventions expanding to include a wider variety of settings, implementers, and recipients.


The development of real-time lexical processing: phonological competition and semantic activation.

            Charlotte Jeppsen; University of Iowa
            Keith Apfelbaum; University of Iowa
            Kelsey Klein; University of Tennessee, Knoxville
            Alex Fell; University of Iowa
            Jamie Klein-Packard; University of Iowa
            Sneh Jhaveri; University of Iowa
            J. Bruce Tomblin; University of Iowa
            Bob McMurray; University of Iowa

Previous developmental research has investigated phonological competition during real-time lexical processing separately from semantic priming (Huang & Snedeker, 2011; Rigler et al., 2015), and has been limited to 9, 16-year-olds, and adults. We compared semantic priming with phonological competition using a Visual World Paradigm in 43 7-9-year-olds (17 male, 26 female) and 37 10-13-year-olds (18 male, 18 female, 1 non-binary). Younger children were slower than older children to activate the target word, and to resolve competitor activation during both semantic, and phonological trials. Younger children also exhibited higher peak competitor activation than did older children on semantic trials. Therefore, changes in word recognition, like changes in syntax and reading processes, continue to develop through age 13. These results therefore suggest plasticity in perceptual processing persists in adolescence, allowing further opportunity for intervention. This research was funded by NIH Grant DC008089.


Multilingualism under the Magnifying Glass

            Bernadette Vermeij; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK)
            Angela Stevens; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK)
            Maaike Diender; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK)
            Mirjam Blumenthal; Royal Dutch Kentalis
            Roxette van den Bosch; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Brigitta Keij; Royal Dutch Auris Group

A lack of knowledge about the multilingual language development of pre-schoolers with (presumed) DLD and a lack of suitable measuring instruments for all relevant languages make monitoring multilingual language development challenging. The research project Multilingualism under the Magnifying Glass is aimed at examining how we can best do this in the early treatment groups for pre-schoolers with (presumed) DLD in the Netherlands.

We designed a multilingual tracking system based on a literature study and focus groups with researchers, speech-language therapists and caregivers. Subsequently we ran a pilot study which we analysed using two different methods: qualitative methods to evaluate the feasibility of the tracking system with the participating speech-language therapists (n=16) and a quantitative analysis of the data collected on the multilingual language development of the participating pre-schoolers (n=41).

Both the tracking system itself and the results from the pilot study will be presented in this paper. Based on the results from the pilot study, we will formulate recommendations on uniformly monitoring the multilingual development of children with (presumed) DLD within these early treatment groups.

This research was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.


Prosodic Variability among College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Megan Kenny; Monmouth University
            Paul de Lacy; University of Auckland
            Karin Stromswold; Rutgers University

This study investigates the prosody of college students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Five NT and 5 ASD college students were given the PEPS-C (to assess pragmatics). Syntax was assessed using a forced-choice comprehension test, and prosody was assessed by having participants say pragmatically neutral sentences. ASD participants did significantly worse than NT participants on the production section of the PEPS-C, but not on the comprehension section. They did almost perfectly on the syntactic comprehension test.

In terms of prosody, ASD participants spoke more slowly than NT participants, and unlike NT participants who had a mid-sentence amplitude peak, ASD participants’ sentences decreased monotonically. The F0 of all NT participants increased monotonically during the first half of the sentence and then decreased monotonically.  In contrast, there was a great deal of variability in F0 among the ASD participants, with one decreasing monotonically, one having a sentence-final peak, one having 2 peaks and one having 3 peaks.  In sum, even ASD participants with normal receptive prosody have aberrant expressive prosody for pragmatically neutral sentences, with there being substantial individual differences.

Funding: Rutgers University Aresty Research Center


Therapy goals for preschoolers with language disorders through an ICF lens

            Elaine Kwok; McMaster University
            Peter Rosenbaum; McMaster University
            BJ Cunningham; Western University

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework defines health conditions across three domains: (i) Body Functions & Structures; (ii) Activities, and (iii) Participation. The Participation domain is consistently identified as the most meaningful and important therapy outcome to families of children with communication disorders. This study explores whether speech-language pathologists (SLPs) place less emphasis on the Participation domain (e.g., playing with peers) when selecting goals for children with language disorders.

Ninety-three SLPs responded to an online survey to report the therapy goals they selected for a child with language disorders. SLPs indicated that 72% of their therapy goals target the Participation domain whereas researchers found that only 22% of reported therapy goals addressed the Participation domain. Findings from this study show that there are major discrepancies between researchers’ and SLPs’ categorization of therapy goals, particularly within the Participation domain. Future studies will explore the factors underlying the discrepancies between SLPs’ and researchers’ perceptions.

The project is supported by a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship (430538).


Early Language Ability in Bilingual Children Born Preterm

            Emma Libersky; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Julie Poehlmann-Tynan; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Despite advances in neonatal care and increased understanding of cognitive-linguistic development in preterm children, the developmental trajectories of bilingual children born preterm remain poorly understood. The present study assesses vocabulary and conversational language development longitudinally, in a small sample of Spanish-English bilinguals born preterm and their closely matched monolingual controls. Analyses focus on markers of lexical variety and morphosyntactic complexity across groups, identifying linguistic strengths and weaknesses for bilinguals born preterm. This work is funded by grants from the NIH (R01HD44163) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the second author.


Collective-Distributive Interpretations in Bilingual Spanish-English-Speaking Children

            Anne Lingwall Odio; University of Cincinnati
            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University

The present study investigates distributive and collective interpretations of Spanish quantifiers “cada” (each) and “unos” (some) among age-matched, monolingual and bilingual typically-developing children. Participants were presented with a video-recorded Truth-Value Judgement Task (Crain & McKee 1986), including 12 experimental items with the Spanish plural determiner “unos” presented half in collective contexts and half in distributive contexts and another 12 experimental items with the Spanish distributive universal quantifier “each”, again in the same contexts. Children were also given the Spanish Peabody lexical measure (Dunn et al. 1986) and the Flanker test of inhibition. Results show that bilingual children had greater inhibition scores and lower lexical scores than monolinguals. Monolinguals generated more collective implicatures (less acceptance of “unos” in distributive contexts) than bilinguals. Lexicon, not executive function, was predictive of collective and distributive judgments. These findings lend greater clarity to the roles played by lexicon and executive function in scalar implicature generation.


Social and endogenous motivations in the emergence of canonical babbling: An autism risk study

            Helen Long; University of Memphis
            Gordon Ramsay; Emory University, Marcus Autism Center
            Dale Bowman; University of Memphis, Institute for Intelligent Systems
            Megan Burkhardt-Reed; University of Memphis
            D. Kimbrough Oller; University of Memphis, Institute for Intelligent Systems

There is a growing body of research emphasizing the role of social and endogenous motivations in human development. The present study evaluated canonical babbling across the second-half year of life using all-day recordings in 98 children at low and high risk for autism. Canonical babbling ratios (CBRs) were calculated from human coding with Likert-scale ratings on the level of turn taking and vocal play in each segment. We observed no main effect of risk on canonical babbling. CBRs were significantly elevated during high vocal play, though high turn taking yielded a weaker effect. We conclude that both social and endogenous motivations may drive infants’ tendencies to produce their most advanced vocal forms. This research was funded by grants DC015108 from NIDCD and MH100029 from NIMH.


Within-Family Associations of Mental Health, Marital Satisfaction, and Language Input Among Parents of Children with Down Syndrome

            Nell Maltman; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Emily Lorang; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Sigan Hartley; University of Wisconsin-Madison

            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Parents of children with Down syndrome (DS) are at risk for poorer mental health and marital satisfaction. Prior work suggests that these factors may influence parent language input and be shaped by child functioning (e.g., cognition). This study investigated associations of parent language input, mental health (e.g., depression, stress) and marital satisfaction, and child cognition. Parents completed self-report questionnaires and language was coded during in-home free play with their child with DS. Maternal mental health had few associations with language input. Paternal mental health was associated with child cognition. Maternal mental health variables were interrelated, whereas for fathers, depression was associated with marital satisfaction. Findings suggest the importance of supporting families of children with DS.

This research was supported by P30 HD03352 to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, T32HD007489 (S. Hartley), a UW- Madison Faculty Research Grant/Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund (A. Sterling, PI), a Vilas Life Cycle Award (A. Sterling, PI), a core grant to the Waisman Center from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U54 HD090256), and start-up funds from the University of Wisconsin– Madison (A. Sterling).


Investigating Vocal Variables for Assessing Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Jena McDaniel; University of Kansas
            Carolyn Burchfield; University of Kansas
            PaChee Lor; University of Kansas
            Nancy Brady; University of Kansas

This study was designed to compare five vocal variables for evaluating vocal development of children with autism spectrum disorder, including those with minimal verbal skills. We compared the five vocal variables, which were coded from a structured communication sample (Scripted Communication Complexity Scale [CCS]), with one another and three spoken word measures (one from the CCS and two from an elicited speech production probe). The participants (n = 33; M age = 76 months) were enrolled in an intervention designed to improve production of spoken words. The findings provide additional convergent validity evidence for the tested vocal variables, though evidence for proportion of communicative vocalizations was weaker than for the other vocal variables. This evidence expands upon prior research with use of a different sampling context and inclusion of older participants with relatively lower spoken language skills. The vocal variables did not exhibit sensitivity to change across the intervention period (4-16 weeks). Future work will address delineating which vocal variables may be most useful at particular stages of language development. This work is supported by NIH grant U54 HD090216.


Children’s Success in Remote Communication Contexts Varies with Language Ability

            Karla McGregor; BTNRH
            Ronald Pomper; BTNRH
            Nichole Eden; BTNRH
            Timothy Arbisi-Kelm; BTNRH
            Nancy Ohlmann; BTNRH
            Shivani Gajre; BTNRH
            Erin Smolak; BTNRH

Rationale. Our world necessitates remote communication. Without a shared context, remote communication places considerable demands on the developing language system. We asked how second graders meet these demands.

Methods. Children (N = 50) solved the Tower of London (TOL) and explained it to an adult who could see the child (video chat) or not (cellphone). We coded the explanations for pragmatic and semantic content and whether that content was spoken or gestured. In a linear mixed effects model, the explanation score was the dependent variable and condition (video chat, cellphone), modality (gesture, spoken), sex, age, vocabulary, theory of mind, and temperament scores were independent variables.

Results. Performance varied with condition, modality and their interaction. Performance was better in the gestured than spoken modality, but the difference was larger in the video chat than cellphone condition. Vocabulary and expressive/receptive language were positive predictors.

Conclusions. Second graders account for visual context when communicating remotely. Language abilities are a robust predictor of success and, by implication, children with language disorders may be at risk for functional deficits in remote communication.

Funding. NIH-NIDCD2R01DC011742-06


Contribution of Recognitory Gestures and Receptive Vocabulary to Expressive Action Word Vocabulary in 18-Month-Olds

            Katrina Nicholas; California State University, East Bay
            Christina Meyers-Denman; University of Colorado Boulder

Rationale: Eighteen-month-old toddlers with limited expressive vocabulary alone are questionable candidates for early language intervention.  Understanding the contribution of recognitory gestures to expressive vocabulary development, especially action words —

given their relationship to grammatical development — could enhance predictions about whose deficit is likely to persist. 

Methods: Multiple regression analyses were performed on 84 eighteen-month-olds from Wordbank (Frank et al., 2016) to test contributions of recognitory gestures and receptive vocabulary on expressive vocabulary, particularly action words.

Results: Recognitory gestures and receptive vocabulary combined contributed significantly to overall expressive vocabulary (R2 = .52, F(3,80) = 29.40, p < .0001). Expressive action word vocabulary was significantly predicted by both receptive action words and recognitory gestures (R2 = .35, F(3,80) = 14.44, p < .0001), but was predicted primarily by recognitory gestures (ß = .7094, t = 5.26, p < .0001).

Conclusions: Because recognitory gestures are the best predictor of expressive action word vocabulary, including them in assessment of late talkers could allow for earlier differentiation of language deficits that are likely to persist.  Future research should examine their role as an early clinical marker.


Does Joint Engagement Influence the Relation between Home Environmental Factors and Child Vocabulary Development?

            Olufemi Shakuur Nyabingi; Northwestern University
            Brittany Manning; Northwestern University
            Yuri Jo; Northwestern University
            Winnie Liang; Northwestern University
            Elizabeth Norton; Northwestern University

Moments of joint engagement (i.e., when a parent and child are jointly involved with an object) are important for language learning (Adamson et al., 2017; Conway et al., 2018). A child’s attention to a shared interaction and a parent’s use of language work in synchrony to encourage language learning. On the other hand, home environmental factors, including low SES and multiple children in the home, have been associated with poorer language development (Fernald et al., 2013; Woollett, 1986). This study will examine whether joint engagement serves as a protective factor, relating to higher vocabulary in children from low-SES or multiple-child homes. Mother-toddler dyads (n = 80, typically-developing and late talkers) engaged in naturalistic interaction, which was coded for joint engagement. Planned analyses will examine relations between time spent jointly engaged during interaction and child vocabulary, controlling for environmental factors. We will also examine whether there is a stronger association between joint engagement and vocabulary in children from low-SES and multiple-child homes, which would provide support for early, targeted joint engagement intervention for at-risk children. Funded by NIDCD grants R01DC016273, R21DC017210.


Are children performing better on the digit span backward than forward task? An exploratory analysis

            Theresa Pham; University of Western Ontario
            Lisa Archibald; University of Western Ontario

Digit span forward is thought to measure short-term memory, whereas digit span backward measures working memory because it imposes both storage and processing demands. However, several speech-language pathologists have observed the unexpected pattern of better digit backward than forward performance for some children assessed on the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS). Our goal was to understand this pattern of performance by reanalyzing the TILLS normative sample (n = 1258). Percentile ranks are sparsely estimated for the digit span subtests relative to most subtests, which could lead to larger score discrepancies. Consistent with the SLPs observations, higher digit backward than forward standard scores and percentiles were observed. Even when standard scores and percentiles were higher for the backward than forward subtest, however, this often corresponded to higher raw scores and longer span length for the forward task. Results suggest that standard scores and percentiles should not be considered to reflect comparative strengths in forward or backward digit recall. Thus, we caution against overinterpreting individual task performance.

We thank the authors of the TILLS for providing the normative sample.


Hierarchy and Reliability of the Auditory Comprehensive and Expressive Communication Scales of the Preschool Language Scale-5

            Cathy Qi; University of New Mexico
            van Horn Lee; University of New Mexico
            Rebecca Bulotsky-Shearer; University of Miami
            Alexandra Davis; University of New Mexico
            Almut Zieher; University of New Mexico
            Judith Carta; University of Kansas

The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine the association between preschool language skills and parent-reported child behavior problems, and the extent to which the association was moderated by maternal depressive symptoms. Participants included 239 preschool children and their mothers from low-income families. Over a two-year period, mothers reported on their depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior problems using the Child Behavior Checklist. Children’s expressive and receptive language skills were assessed directly using the Preschool Language Scale-5. Results suggested that children’s expressive language skills and elevated maternal depressive symptoms uniquely predicted initial mean levels of child internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Maternal depressive symptoms did not, however, moderate the relationship between language skills and behavior problems. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. Intervention and prevention programs targeting children’s behavior problems should address language skills and maternal depression.

Funding source: National Institute of Child Health & Human Development(1R21HD069759-01A1)


The grammatical repertoire of Dutch 3- to 6-year-old children with DLD and their typically developing peers

            Anouk Scheffer; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Esther Ottow-Henning; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Brigitta Keij; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Ellen Gerrits; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
            Frank Wijnen; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS

The aim of the current study is to compare the grammatical repertoire of Dutch three- to six-year-old children with DLD and typically-developing (TD) children matched on their grammatical developmental level, as measured with TARSP (Schlichting, 2017). TARSP is a method for analysing spontaneous language frequently used in clinical settings in the Netherlands, and is based on the idea that children with DLD are delayed in their grammatical development. Language samples of 59 children (29 children with DLD, 30 TD children) recorded in free-play situations were analysed on measures of grammatical complexity, diversity, and accuracy. The results show that children with DLD differed from TD children, especially in the complexity of their utterances. Additionally, on almost all measures, substantial interindividual variation was found. This indicates that children with matching grammatical levels can still show differences in their grammatical production patterns. Additionally, the results suggest that in addition to general measures of grammatical development, it is important to include the complexity of the utterances a child with DLD produces.

This research is funded by the Royal Dutch Auris Group.


Social Pragmatic Communication and Length of Bilingualism Predict Inhibitory Control in Bilingual Children

            Caitlyn Slawny; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Kimberly Crespo; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Susan Ellis Weismer; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin - Madison

Development of executive function skills (EFs) has been linked to structural language development in monolingual and bilingual children. The central question of the present study is whether social pragmatic communication skills are associated with EFs in bilingual children, controlling for the effect of structural language. While studies have reported positive effects of bilingualism on social pragmatic skills and on EFs, the relationship between social pragmatic skills and EFs in bilinguals has not yet been tested. Parents of Spanish-English bilingual children 8-12 years of age completed the Children’s Communication Checklist, Second Edition (CCC-2) as a measure of social pragmatic skills and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) as a measure of EFs. Bilingualism was quantified as length of bilingual experience. Results revealed that CCC-2 General Communication Composite scores were a significant predictor of BRIEF inhibition scores, controlling for the effect of structural language. Furthermore, length of bilingualism was also associated with BRIEF inhibition scores. These findings suggest that better social pragmatic skills and longer exposure to two languages are associated with improved inhibitory control in bilingual children.

Funding: R01DC011750-05


Determining the Stability of SALT’s Dynamic Norming Process

            Alexander Tucci; University of Arizona
            Elena Plante; University of Arizona
            John Heilmann; University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
            Jon Miller; University of Wisconsin - Madison; SALT Software, LLC

The purpose of this study was to determine the stability of the dynamic norming process used in Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) software. Dynamic norming is operationalized as the selection of varying normative comparison samples dependent on the demographic characteristics of the client being compared to the database. The current analysis examined the Conversation and Student Selected Story Narrative databases available in SALT. Analyses included the calculation of standard error of measure for six clinically relevant transcript measures and sampling procedures to determine the minimum number of transcripts necessary for psychometrically stable comparisons to be drawn. Results suggest that samples as small as 35 transcripts from age bands of ±4 months can yield psychometrically stable results for the transcript measures tested. This study serves as a proof-of-concept for the broader application of these procedures in SALT’s programming and lends further evidence that SALT provides a stable normative reference for evaluating children’s language abilities.


Engaging in practice-based research in a school setting: A qualitative analysis

            Meghan Vollebregt; Western University
            Lisa Drake; Durham District School Board
            Nancy Sarlo; Durham District School Board
            Anila Punnoose; Durham District School Board
            Lisa Archibald; Western University

In practice-based research, collaborative partnerships between clinicians and researchers provide the opportunity to create and/or change clinical practices in a meaningful way for both partners. Establishing and maintaining a successful partnership can be challenging, and on-going evaluation is an important component of a thriving partnership. The current project used two qualitative approaches to evaluate a partnership between school-board speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and researchers. Participants (SLPs=6, researchers=2) first completed a perceptual mapping activity to identify factors they felt influenced the partnership. Participants identified if these factors were facilitators or barriers. Secondly, two SLPs participated in a semi-structured interview to further discuss facilitators and barriers to the partnership. Partnership establishment, maintenance, and evaluation were discussed. Identified facilitators included a well-defined problem and shared outcomes, and identified barriers included communication with schools and time to collect data. Methodological triangulation of the data revealed well established respect for specific expertise and mutual benefit as important throughout the partnership. This project demonstrates the importance of evaluating partnerships to understand components necessary to their success. This research was supported by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.


Reliability and Validity of Short Language Samples

            Amy Wilder; University of Utah
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah

Language sample analysis (LSA) represents an ecologically valid method for identifying children with developmental language disorder (DLD). LSA is, however, time-consuming. Debate continues on what constitutes sufficient sample length to ensure accurate assessment. In this study, play-based conversational language samples collected on K-1st grade children with DLD and children with typical language (TL) drawn from a community-based sample were analyzed. Reliability measurements for utterances per minute (UPM), words per minute (WPM), MLU, percent grammatical utterances (PGU), and subordinating index (SI) across 1, 3, 7, and 10-minute cuts showed similar levels across the TL and DLD groups. UPM, and WPM reached acceptable reliability at 3-minutes for both groups. Additionally, errors and omissions per minute were reliable at 3-minutes for the DLD group. MLU, and PGU were reliable at 7-minutes for both groups. Significant group differences appeared on WPM, number of different WPM, MLU, errors and omissions per minute, PGU and SI. ROC curves indicated PGU had the highest accuracy for confirming DLD status. With further refinement, measures from short language samples could help confirm DLD status. Funding source: NIDCD R01DC011023.

Poster Session #2


Statistical Word Learning in Catalan-Spanish and English-speaking children with and without Developmental Language Disorder

            Nadia Ahufinger; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
            Laura Ferinu; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
            Mònica Sanz-Torrent; Universitat de Barcelona
            Llorenç Andreu; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
            Julia. L. Evans; University of Texas at Dallas

Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) perform poorly on statistical word learning (SWL) tasks, consistent with the predictions of the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis. However, SWL performance has not been compared across linguistically populations of children with DLD. The aim of this study was to compare the SWL performance in a group Catalan-Spanish and English-speaking children with and without DLD. Children listened to a tone language in which transitional probabilities within tone words were higher than those between words. For both linguistic cohorts, performance for the DLD group was poorer than the TD controls regardless of their native language. SWL performance was significantly correlated with expressive and receptive vocabulary. The same cut points for both cohorts (i.e., performance < 45%) had a high degree of likelihood of having DLD. The findings suggest that statistical learning may be a core feature of DLD and tone-SWL tasks may be nonculturally biased measures of statistical learning regardless of the child’s native language and/or if the child is bilingual or monolingual. This project was funded by MEyC/Spain and AGAUR/Catalunya grants (Andreu, PI), and NIDCD and NICHD grants (Evans, PI)


Simplified Language Input: Perspectives of Parents with Children Enrolled in Early Intervention

            Julia Andary; Michigan State University
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University

We know very little about how parents and caregivers view the issue of simplified language input, but understanding their perspectives is critical for implementing evidence-based practice. Given the discrepancy between empirical evidence and clinical practice, it is particularly important to understand their views on the use of telegraphic input (which removes function words and grammatical markers). To address this gap in knowledge, the current study surveyed 77 parents of children enrolled in early intervention about their views on different types of simplified language input. Participants completed a 20 minute online survey asking them about their beliefs on how altering language input benefits a child with a language delay. Overall, parents considered shortened utterances to be more beneficial than telegraphic utterances. However, over half of parents (52%) agreed that telegraphic input is beneficial for supporting language development. Parents viewed receptive language as the most important factor to consider in deciding how to speak to a child with a language delay. These findings highlight the importance of talking with parents about their views, especially in parent-mediated intervention models.


Category learning with and without feedback in children with developmental language disorder

            Lauren Baron; MGH Institute of Health Professions

            Isabel Fitzpatrick; MGH Institute of Health Professions      

Yael Arbel; MGH Institute of Health Professions

The procedural deficit hypothesis suggests that interventions for children with developmental language disorder (DLD) should capitalize on their intact explicit learning system. As such, feedback-based teaching that promotes explicit learning is often used to instruct children with DLD. However, feedback processing may be impaired in these children, which limits the effectiveness of feedback-based intervention approaches. We examined performance on a category learning task presented with and without feedback to 16 children with DLD and 16 age-matched peers with typical development (TD). Preliminary results showed that children with DLD did not benefit from corrective feedback to the same extent as their peers with TD. Children with DLD appeared to learn better without feedback, which supports the use of feedback-free or errorless learning approaches. Implications for intervention and future research will be discussed. This work was funded by NIDCD R15DC016438.


Characterization of frontal lobe hemodynamic response for spoken word processing in young adults with developmental language disorder (DLD) and a low performing normal language peer

            Amy Berglund-Barraza; University of Texas at Dallas
            Paulina Skolasinska; University of Texas at Dallas
            Chandramallika Basak; University of Texas at Dallas
            Fenghua Tian; University of Texas at Arlington
            Julia Evans; University of Texas at Dallas

It has been suggested that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) do not characterize a distinct clinical population, and instead represent the low normal language users in a typical population. However, recent studies indicate that the neural indices of language processing in individuals with DLD diverge from their typical peers, even when behavior falls within the normal range. Changes in hemoglobin across the prefrontal cortex was recorded using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Standardized z-scores of hemodynamic response for adults with DLD and a low performing normal language control (NL) showed abnormal response for each participant, with DLD response characterized by overactivation, and NL response characterized by underactivation. Additionally, channel-wise correlations revealed the NL control had high correlation across the channels for both high- and low-frequency words, whereas this pattern was not found in the participants with DLD. These findings indicate young adults with DLD are distinct from their low performing typical language peers and represent a clinically distinct population. This project was funded by the University of Texas STARS award (Evans, PI).


Researchers’ Use of the Terminology and Diagnostic Criteria for DLD

            Stacy Betz; Purdue University Fort Wayne
            Jaime Ryan; Purdue University Fort Wayne

Recently, the term developmental language disorder (DLD) was proposed as the preferred diagnostic term to refer to childhood language impairments with no known etiology. Prior to this suggestion, the term specific language impairment (SLI) was most frequently used to refer to this group of children. One aspect of the rationale for this change was to increase the consistency in terminology used by researchers and clinicians. Additionally, changes in how co-morbid diagnoses impacted the diagnosis of DLD were proposed with associated biomedical conditions referring to additional diagnoses that would preclude a child receiving a diagnosis of DLD and co-occurring conditions being additional diagnoses that could occur in addition to DLD. This study presents a systematic review of literature published since the term DLD was proposed to determine the extent to which researchers are using the guidelines and terminology suggested as part of the DLD diagnosis. Results of this study will assist with understanding whether the proposed change in terminology to DLD has led to increased consistency in the diagnostic terms and criteria researchers use.


The impact of clinician accent on children’s performance on standardized assessments

            Milijana Buac; Northern Illinois University
            Shannon Roehn; Northern Illinois University

The field of speech-language pathology (SLP) lacks diversity (ASHA, 2019). Many non-native English speakers may be discouraged from pursuing a career in speech-language pathology because they are often advised to undergo accent modification to improve their English pronunciation. Although accented input has been shown to result in temporary processing costs, little is known how accent may impact assessment and intervention services. In the present study, we assessed whether pre-school age children’s performance on receptive language tasks would vary depending on the clinician accent. Children completed three receptive tasks varying in the level of context. Tasks were administered by a native English-speaking clinician and a non-native English-speaking clinician who spoke English with a Korean accent. Results revealed neurotypical pre-school age children’s performance was negatively impacted by the clinician’s accent only on the task with minimal context, a receptive vocabulary task, but not on tasks providing additional context: a sentence comprehension task and a story comprehension task. These results indicate that non-native speakers of English should be encouraged to pursue careers in speech-language pathology. [Funding: NIU Research and Artistry Grant]


Preliminary Examination of the Psychometrics of the Early Social Communication Scale in Young Children with Down Syndrome

            Lauren Bullard; UC Davis Health, MIND Institute
            Vivian Nguyen; UC Davis Health, MIND Institute
            Anna Esbensen; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
            Emily Schworer; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
            Deborah Fidler; Colorado State University
            Lisa Daunhauer; Colorado State University
            Carolyn Mervis; University of Louisville
            Angela Becerra; University of Louisville
            Leonard Abbeduto; UC Davis Health, MIND Institute
            Angela Thurman; UC Davis Health, MIND Institute

Evaluating the efficacy of behavioral and pharmaceutical interventions requires outcome measures that are sensitive to meaningful changes in functioning. Unfortunately, validated outcome measures, such as language and communication measures, are virtually nonexistent for the early childhood years in Down syndrome (DS), limiting our ability to detect treatment changes in young children for whom early intervention can be most impactful. Thus, in the present study we considered the preliminary validity of using the Early Social Communication Scale (ESCS) as a play-based communication outcome measure in both preschool (2.5 to 4.99 years) and young school-age children (5 to 7.99 years) with DS. Preliminary findings suggest that the ESCS is a promising outcome measure for preschool aged children with DS, with high construct validity as well as test-retest reliability. We did however find modest indications of potential practice effects for both groups. Further, the ESCS might function differently in school-age children and therefore additional child characteristics, such as developmental ability and language level, should be considered in order to discern for which individuals this task is best suited. Funding: R01HD093654, P50HD103526, UL1TR000002


Morphosyntax and speech production in narratives of children with speech sound disorders

            Julie Case; Hofstra University
            Anna Eva Hallin; Karolinska Institutet

Language disorders commonly co-occur with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS; Lewis et al., 2004) and non-CAS speech sound disorders (SSD, Shriberg et al., 1999), but less work has explored the relationship between speech deficits and language abilities using language sample analysis (e.g., Wellman et al. 2011). The current study analyzed morphosyntax in story retell narratives using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT: Miller, Andriacchi & Nockerts, 2011) and explored how speech production severity contributes to morphosyntactic performance and productivity in CAS, non-CAS SSD and typically developing controls, while controlling for language abilities within standardized assessment. Given the high prevalence of developmental language disorder (DLD) in children with SSDs, additional information is needed to understand how linguistic deficits in demanding (and naturalistic) settings present, especially for CAS where this area has not been explored. This work was supported by the Apraxia Kids Doctoral Student Research Grant and New Century Doctoral Scholarship.


Identification of Barriers/Facilitators and Levels of Agreement between Teachers and SLPs Regarding Universal Screening of Language Impairment in Public Schools

            Tyler Christopulos; University of Utah
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) affects up to 12% of kindergarten school-aged children and has a significant negative impact on academic outcomes of affected children. Referral-based identification formats only find approximately 15% of affected school children. This study identified and examined potential barriers and facilitators to the systematic uptake of universal screening in public schools. This was accomplished by conducting two focus groups with key stakeholders involved in DLD identification in a school district. Once barriers and facilitators were identified, district SLPs and kindergarten teachers were surveyed to assess agreement levels. Twelve themes emerged from the focus group data. Twenty survey statements were formed from these data and administered to survey participants. Key findings included: 1) Kindergarten teachers and SLPs widely agree that annual screening would be more beneficial over current referral-based formats. 2) Professional burden hinders referral-based systems, specifically among general education teachers. 3) Paraprofessional positions (e.g., SLPA) are recommended groups to conduct regular language screenings. 4) RTI stands to play a pivotal role in factors related to annual screening. 5) Awareness and education of language impairment for public school stakeholders are lacking.


Input Variability and Word-learning in Children with Different Language Abilities

            Kimberly Crespo; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research examining word-learning mechanisms seldom considers how input variability impact children’s ability to learn word-to-referent mappings. Cross-situational statistical word-learning (CSWL) – the ability to learn words by tracking co-occurrence statistics of words and their referents over time- has been identified as a fundamental mechanism underlying lexical learning but has not been tested against variable input. In the present study, we examine the separate and combined effects of speaker and exemplar variability on CSWL in typically developing (TD) English-speaking monolingual children and TD Spanish-English bilingual children. Data collection is ongoing. Preliminary results suggest that children can accommodate variability during word-learning, and that bilingual language experience and variable input may not facilitate children’s CSWL. Future analyses will focus on examining how language ability and vocabulary skills moderates learning from variable input in children with typical language development and in children with developmental language disorder. This research was supported by NIH grants R01 DC011750 awarded to Margarita Kaushanskaya and F31 DC019025 awarded to Kimberly Crespo and Margarita Kaushanskaya.


Sensitivity to Mispronunciation in a Sample of Monolingual North American Late Talking and Typically Talking Toddlers

            Philip Curtis; Northwestern University
            Ryne Estabrook; University of Illinois at Chicago
            Megan Roberts; Northwestern University
            Adriana Weisleder; Northwestern University

Late Talkers (LTs) are a group of children who experience delayed expressive language development. While these children have documented differences in their expressive phonological development, less is known about their receptive processing of phonological information. The aim of the current study was to determine whether LTs show a reduced sensitivity to mispronunciations compared to their typically talking (TT) peers. A group of 45 LTs and TTs completed a mispronunciation Looking-while-Listening eye tracking paradigm. Compared to TTs, LTs showed a reduced sensitivity to mispronunciations, although the corresponding interaction term was not significant in our full model. Entering expressive vocabulary as a continuous measure instead of LT group resulted in a marginally significant effect of vocabulary size, with children with larger vocabularies showing greater sensitivity to mispronunciations. These data suggest that on the whole, LTs are sensitive to mispronunciations, but there is some suggestion that the effect is weaker than in TTs. Future work will investigate the relation between characteristics of children’s speech and their sensitivity to mispronunciations.  

 This work was funded by NIDCD (F31DC017631) and the CAPCSD.


The characteristics of spontaneous language in young children identified as language delayed in Mandarin

            Jill de Villiers; Smith College
            Xueman Liu; Bethel Speech and Hearing Center
            Lee Wendy; Bethel Speech and Hearing Center
            Hutchings Terry; Bethel Speech and Hearing Center
            Rolfhus Eric; Bethel Speech and Hearing Center
            Jiang Fan; Shanghai Jiao Tong University
            Zhang Yi Wen; Shanghai Jiao tong University

The goal was to investigate which aspects of spontaneous speech might be distinctive for atypical development of Mandarin in a short play session. 86 Mandarin-speaking children aged 2;6 to 4;6 took part in a 15 minute semi-structured play session, during which their spontaneous speech was recorded by professionals. 39 had been classified as atypically developing in language development and 47 scored in the typical range, based on DREAM-C, a standardized test of Mandarin. The aspects of language coded consisted of two ordinal scales of vocabulary diversity and grammatical diversity, and the appearance of a range of morphosyntax items on a checklist. The data show change over age in all these aspects of language, and reveal what a typically developing child might be expected to produce in a 15 minute sample. The children identified as atypically developing were markedly lower on each of the scales and were less likely to produce varied morphosyntax. The details can inform the choice of targets for intervention for young children who experience delays in Mandarin language acquisition.  Funding: Bethel Hearing and Speech Training.


Probabilistic Constraints on Overt Subject Use in Child Spanish-speakers with SLI:  A Discriminant Function Analysis

            Kendra V. Dickinson; The Ohio State University
            Pedro Antonio Ortiz-Ramírez; The Ohio State University
            Ana Arrieta-Zamudio; La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University
            Blanca Flores-Ávalos; Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación

Our study analyzes overt subjects and the probabilistic constraints on their expression that have been found in adult language (cf. Otheguy & Zentella 2012) in the speech of 19 typically-developing (TD) Spanish-speaking children and 19 children with specific language impairment (SLI). Previous work shows that SLI children produce fewer overt subjects than typically-developing children (Grinstead et al. 2018), and that the latter acquire constraints on subject expression as they age (Shin & Erker 2015; Shin 2016). Our study complements these findings and provides further substance to the grammatical profile of children whose morphosyntactic development diverges from typically-developing children. Overall, we find that SLI children produce fewer overt subject pronouns in switch-reference contexts than typically-developing controls (significant interaction of group and switch-reference – B = .963, SE = .002, p < .001). Furthermore, a discriminant function analysis shows that overt pronoun use in Switch-Reference contexts can form part of a useful diagnostic discriminant function. We discuss the consequences of these findings within the theory of Interface Delay and other theories of SLI.


Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder Relative to Developmental Language Disorder: A Preliminary Epidemiologic Study

            Susan Ellis Weismer; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            J. Bruce Tomblin; University of Iowa
            Maureen Durkin; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Daniel Bolt; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Mari Palta; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Aims of this preliminary epidemiologic study were to advance understanding of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) relative to developmental language disorder (DLD), obtain a prevalence estimate, identify risk factors, and lay groundwork for future population-level research of SCD. Using existing data from an epidemiologic sample of DLD, we assessed SCD in 393 8th graders with/without history of DLD. Two possible SCD case definitions were examined. For the first case definition (pragmatic deficits could occur with structural language deficits), SCD was more common in children with a history of DLD and kindergarten history of DLD was a significant risk factor for SCD in adolescence. For the second definition (social/pragmatic skills disproportionately lower than structural language), SCD was equally distributed across children with/without DLD history and male sex predicted SCD. Estimated SCD prevalence ranged from 7% (SE=1.5%) to 11% (SE=1.7%), using a communication disorder cut-point of 1.5SD. Improved understanding of profiles of social and pragmatic communication deficits will help to clarify diagnostic categories and prevalence estimates may assist with ensuring adequate intervention services.

(Funding: K18 DC017111, U54HD090256, N01 DC-1-2107, P50 DC2746/08S1)


Inhibition, Variation and Collective-Distributive Interpretations

            Maiah Fogel; The Ohio State University
            Atena Baghbanian; The Ohio State University
            Nina Sorine; The Ohio State University
            Morgan McHale; The Ohio State University
            Ramón Padilla-Reyes; The Ohio State University
            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University

Children experience a protracted developmental trajectory in learning to draw collective and distributive inferences; sometimes until they are as old as 10 or 11 years of age. Previous work has shown both linguistic factors as well as executive function variables, including inhibition, are predictive of children’s interpretations. In this study we explore the influence of the variables of dialect and executive function on this development. Using the DELV, we classify children as speakers of Mainstream American English (MAE), some variation from MAE and strong variation of MAE. Children are then given a truth-value judgment task to measure collective and distributive interpretations. Finally, children are given 3 measures of inhibition, using the Flanker, Continuous Performance and Anti-Saccades measures. Results show no significant differences across the dialect groups with respect to inhibition. However, the MAE group does generate significantly more adult-like collective and distributive interpretations. Finally, the Continuous Performance Task of inhibition is predictive of children’s collective, but not their distributive, interpretations. Results are discussed in terms of the acquisition of entailments vs. implicatures.


Conversation strengths and weaknesses in boys with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder and boys with fragile X syndrome

            Laura Friedman; University of South Carolina
            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Boys with idiopathic ASD and FXS+ASD have significant deficits in social communication. Conversational discourse weaknesses are well-documented. Boys with idiopathic ASD and FXS+ASD commonly produce perseverative language, change topics abruptly, and interrupt their communication partner. This study expanded our knowledge of conversation skills of boys with FXS+ASD and ASD by quantifying and comparing their respective conversational discourse strengths, including: asking novel questions, offering information, asking reciprocal questions, acknowledging, and response elaborations. Weaknesses were also coded: echolalia, abrupt topic changes, interruptions, topic perseverations, and utterance perseverations. Findings indicated that boys with idiopathic ASD and boys with FXS+ASD had a large overlap in their conversational discourse profiles, though boys with FXS+ASD produced more topic changes and topic perseverations and fewer instances of offering new information relative to boys with idiopathic ASD. Findings from this study inform potential future directions for clinical work focused on leveraging strengths to scaffold remediation of weaknesses.

This research was supported by grants R03 DC011616 (Sterling), K23 DC016639 (Sterling), U54 HD090256 (Chang), and start-up funds from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Deficits in articulatory organization in the production of familiar words in children with DLD

            Isabella Myers; University of Texas at Dallas
            Lisa Goffman; University of Texas at Dallas
            Sara Benham; University of Texas at Dallas

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD; AKA SLI) have difficulty with articulatory and word form components of novel words. However, the production of well-known words is presumed to be highly declarative and thus a strength for these children. We asked whether children with DLD would show deficits in speech motor organization as they produced well-known words that were imitated and retrieved (i.e., named).

            Children with and without DLD participated annually, from age 4- to 7- years. Children produced three highly familiar nouns (mommy, baby, puppy) in imitation and retrieval. To increase processing load, other familiar and unfamiliar words were interspersed. Lip and jaw motion were recorded, and articulatory variability and duration measured.

            Findings showed that at timepoints 1 and 2, children with DLD demonstrated more articulatory variability than their TD peers. At timepoint 2 only, higher articulatory variability was observed in the retrieval than the imitation condition. All significant effects disappeared by timepoint 3. Overall, young children with DLD demonstrate deficits in articulatory organization even in the highly declarative task of producing well-known words.  Supported by NIH R01DC04826 and R01DC016813.


Growth Trajectories of Spanish Article Accuracy in Narrative Retells of Dual Language Learners

            Svenja Gusewski; Southern Connecticut State University
            Raul Rojas; The University of Texas at Dallas

Rationale: This longitudinal study investigated the trajectory of Spanish article accuracy in (Spanish-English) dual language learners (DLLs) over 4 years from preschool to first grade, controlling for changes in English and Spanish proficiency.

Method: Language sample analysis was conducted on 336 Spanish and English narrative retells produced by 31 (Spanish-English) DLLs (range: 45-85 months) from preschool to first grade. Growth curve models estimated within- and between-individual change in article accuracy.

Results: Article accuracy did not exhibit significant positive or negative growth. On average, article accuracy remained stable at 75 percent from preschool throughout first grade. Spanish article accuracy was lower for DLLs with lower Spanish proficiency, while English proficiency did not affect Spanish article accuracy.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that expectations for Spanish morphosyntactic performance in DLLs need to be adjusted to account for the possible impact of not receiving systematic Spanish exposure in English immersion school settings.

This work was funded funded in part by the Kala Singh Memorial Fund [American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation]; GA-2013- 016 [Jerry M. Lewis, M.D. Mental Health Research Foundation]; and R324A160258 [Institute of Education Sciences].


Supporting Personal Event Narrative Production for Children with Developmental Language Disorder: An Online Study

            Lauren Hudacek; New York University
            Ikuko Acosta; New York University
            Christina Reuterskiöld; New York University

Considering younger school-aged children often use personal event narratives during social interactions, understanding how to support these narratives is important. The current study investigated how different types of images support personal event narrative production. Eighteen English-speaking children (7 to 10-years-old) diagnosed with developmental language disorder participated in all three narrative task conditions (no visual, photograph, or self-generated drawing) over three weekly online sessions. Task conditions consisted of listening to a researcher-modeled narrative and then producing a personal event narrative. Child narratives were recorded and analyzed according to narrative structure (macrostructure) and language (microstructure). The effectiveness of participants generating a drawing about an event prior to narrative production is discussed. The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.


Effects of Articulatory Suppression on Planning Performance in Preschoolers with DLD: A Preliminary Investigation

            Leah Kapa; University of Arizona

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) often display poorer performance on executive function measures, including planning tasks, relative to peers with typical language. These executive function deficits may be related to delayed/disordered self-directed speech development in children with DLD. Self-directed speech is non-social speech directed to oneself to guide thinking and behavior.  When self-directed speech is prevented through dual task articulatory suppression (i.e., repeating a word aloud), school-age children with and without DLD show declines in planning performance, which suggests that self-directed speech benefits planning. The purpose of this preliminary investigation was to examine the effects of articulatory suppression on Tower of Hanoi performance among preschool-age children with DLD. Worse performance in the articulatory suppression condition relative to a standard task administration would provide evidence that children are using self-directed speech to plan during standard administration. The results show no differences in Tower of Hanoi accuracy or efficiency between the standard and articulatory suppression conditions, which suggests that these young children with DLD may not be using self-directed speech to guide planning performance and are therefore unaffected by articulatory suppression.


Is learning words in one language easier than in two languages?

            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Anne Neveu; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Caitlyn Slawney; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            David Curtis; University of Wisconsin-Madison

We tested the effect of distributed language exposure on bilingual children’s word learning. English-Spanish bilingual children 4-5 years of age learned novel words paired with novel objects in two conditions: the English-only condition and the Spanish-English condition. In the Spanish-English condition, children first learned Spanish-like novel words, and then learned English-like novel words for the same objects. Data collected in person indicated faster learning in the English-only condition, although the effect was very weak, and likely driven by the complexity of the learning task. Data collected remotely via a simplified experiment indicated equally efficient learning in the two conditions. Together, the findings suggest that distributed exposure may not carry the consequence of reduced language-specific vocabulary skills in bilingual children. Completion of data collection will allow us to examine whether language skills moderate the effect of distributed exposure. We will ask whether bilingual children with lower language skills may be less able to accommodate distributed exposure than children with higher language skills. Funded by R01 DC016015.


Enriching the home language environment of children with language delay: Teaching parents strategies that promote language development

            Marianne Elmquist; University of Minnesota

            Lizbeth Finestack; University of Minnesota
            Scott McConnell; University of Minnesota

A child’s home language environment plays a critical role in early language development. The current pilot study evaluated LENA Start™, a parent training program that combines group parent education classes and quantitative feedback using all-day audio recordings, for families with a young child (age range: 0-2 years; 11 months) with a language delay. Pre- and post-intervention parent-child interactions were video recorded and analyzed using SALT and behavioral coding of type, form, and function for both parent and child communicative acts. This work is funded by a challenge grant from the LENA Research Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the University of Minnesota. Thanks are due to administrators, parent educators, parents, and children in Anoka/Hennepin, and Saint Paul Public Schools.


Testing an interference-based model of working memory in children with developmental language disorder and their typically developing peers

            Caroline Larson; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Susan Ellis Weismer; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) have deficits in verbal and nonverbal processing relative to typically developing (TD) peers. We examined working memory in children with DLD using the serial-order-in-a-box – complex span (SOB-CS) interference-based model which posits a time-based mechanism, free time, that governs how interference affects processing performance. We examined the relationship between free time and working memory on tasks with varied verbal and nonverbal demands in children ages 9-13 years with DLD relative to age-matched TD peers. Data are being collected remotely using Zoom and E-Prime Go. Preliminary results indicated a greater positive effect of free time for the DLD relative to TD group in the condition with similar levels of verbal and nonverbal task demands (b = 0.001; t = -2.042; p < .05). Thus, the relationship between working memory performance and free time may differ in DLD relative to TD peers, and some findings may be inconsistent with the role of free time under the SOB-CS.

Funding: NIH F31 DC018704; American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Century Scholars Doctoral Scholarship; Core grant funding to Waisman Center U54 HD090256


Cognitive and Linguistic Demands of Semantic Tasks for Spanish-English Bilingual Children

            Stephanie McMillen; Syracuse University
            Kathleen Durant; Kent State University
            Amy Pratt; University of California, Irvine
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California, Irvine
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University

Children rely on cognitive-linguistic mechanisms to complete language tasks, including assessments designed to diagnose developmental language disorder (DLD). However, it is unclear how nonverbal cognitive processes contribute to performance on semantic tasks, and whether or not these processes are taxed to a greater extent by children with DLD to compensate for impoverished linguistic representations. This study evaluates the contribution of nonverbal working memory and processing speed on semantic tasks among Spanish-English bilingual children with and without DLD. We found that these nonverbal cognitive processes differentially contributed to some, but not all, semantic tasks. Additionally, children with DLD relied on these nonverbal cognitive processes to complete easier semantics tasks, while their TD peers relied on them to support success on more complex tasks. Implications include understanding how cognitive processes are taxed based on the relative demands of linguistic tasks and determining the differential roles of verbal and nonverbal cognitive processes in the profile of children with DLD. Funding for this work was provided by the NIDCD’s Cross-language outcomes of bilingual language impairment (R01 DC010366-01A1) and Language, Communication and the Brain (T32DC000041-20).


The Feasibility of Translating an Expressive Vocabulary Treatment for Late-Talking Toddlers to a Caregiver-Implemented Model

            Heidi Mettler; University of Arizona
            Cecilia Figueroa; University of Arizona
            Sarah Lynn Neiling; University of Arizona
            Nora Evans-Reitz; University of Arizona
            Mary Alt; University of Arizona

When provided in a controlled, clinical setting, the Vocabulary Acquisition and Usage for Late Talkers (VAULT) treatment is an efficacious expressive vocabulary treatment for late-talking toddlers (Alt et al., 2020). However, it remains an open question whether VAULT can be translated to a caregiver-implemented model. This question was motivated by severely limited in-person interactions resulting from COVID-19 and the desire to implement VAULT in a more naturalistic environment. Each caregiver completed one week of VAULT training and provided weekly coached and independent VAULT sessions to their child for eight weeks. Caregivers completed structured interviews, questionnaires, and rating scales, which provided insight into the feasibility, treatment fidelity, and social validity of the VAULT caregiver-implemented model. We conducted thematic analyses of interviews and examined trends in the questionnaires and rating scales to determine factors that made it easy or difficult for caregivers to implement VAULT. Results will inform future studies that aim to improve the translation of VAULT to an efficacious caregiver-implemented model. This work was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 1R01 DC015642-01.


Script Vocabulary in the Narratives of Preschoolers Who Speak African American English

            Maura Moyle; Marquette University
            John Heilmann; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
            Denise Finneran; University of Oklahoma
            Jaclyn Cain; Marquette University

Children who speak African American English (AAE) are over-referred for special education services, in part due to a lack of appropriate assessments and SLPs’ unfamiliarity with AAE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of a script vocabulary measure to serve as a less-biased language measure for AAE-speaking preschoolers. Participants included 42 Head Start preschoolers who spoke AAE. Narrative language samples were elicited from each child using a wordless picture book. Results from correlational analyses showed that the script vocabulary measure was strongly related to other language samples measures and moderately related to norm-referenced language tests. In addition, the script vocabulary measure was unrelated to AAE dialect density. The current study suggests that a measure of script vocabulary has the potential to serve as a dialect-neutral index of narrative language for preschoolers who speak AAE. This research was funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.


Developing a rubric for social skill assessment: Lessons learned

            Nichole Mulvey; Eastern Illinois University

Standardized, norm-referenced assessments of social skills rarely address the application of social skills in real-world contexts, resulting in elevated scoring and lack of qualification for services. How, then, do we reliably measure social competency in applied contexts like conversation? A social competency rubric was developed for measuring social interaction abilities (quality/quantity of social overtures, quality/quantity of social responses) and non-verbal behaviors (eye contact, gestures, body language). Three videos of pragmatic-based language sampling were utilized to train two students to use the rubric. The two raters then independently used the rubric to score ten video samples for a total of 98 intervals. Inter-rater reliability for each skill and section of the rubric was determined. Exact scoring for social interaction skills was found to occur for 67% of skills. Exact scoring of non-verbal behaviors was 74%. When differences in scoring was allowed by 1, reliability increased to 94% for social interaction skills and 92% for non-verbal behaviors. Implications for practitioner use, including refinement and clarification for rubric revision will also be discussed. No funding was provided for this project.


Exploring the Social Validity of Telehealth-Based Language Interventions for Young Latine Children

            Sarah Neiling; University of Arizona
            Mary Alt; University of Arizona
            Irma Marquez; Casa de los Niños

How would you support your child’s language development if you had little access to pediatricians or resources in your language? At least 2.7 million Latine children are at risk for language delays and face multiple systemic barriers to socially valid, quality support for their toddler’s language development. The goal of this study is to explore the access to and acceptability of common language teaching practices via telehealth (i.e. social validity) for Latine families with toddlers at risk for being late talkers. Within the Community-Based Participatory Research framework, we will triangulate findings from our qualitative interviews and quantitative self-report rating scales from various stakeholders--caregivers, family members, and community health workers. We propose to analyze the interviews with a modified grounded theory approach. These results will inform the who, what, when, where, and how of a preventative language delay intervention via telehealth for Latine caregivers, fulfilling a crucial need for culturally responsive language therapy services in telehealth during and likely beyond COVID-19. There are no funding sources to disclose.


Subtest and Item Analysis of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation-Screener

            Sarah Reviel; Louisiana State University
            Janna Oetting; Louisiana State University

The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation-Screening Test (DELV-ST; Seymour et al., 2003) contains a Dialect subtest that measures dialect differences and a Risk subtest that measures ability differences. In the current study, we asked if the DELV-ST subtests measure dissociated constructs. The data came from 581 kindergartners; 230 spoke African American English and 351 spoke Southern White English. Results indicated that the Dialect and Risk subtests were correlated to each other for the dialects combined and separated. Fail rates within both dialects were also highest for children whose dialects were classified as strong variation from Mainstream American English. When the Risk items were examined by type, the children’s Risk grammar scores but not their nonword repetition scores remained correlated to their Dialect scores. Correlations between the two subtests could also be lowered by removing the grammar items from the Dialect subtest. These findings indicate that the DELV-ST contains three rather than two types of items: those that measure dialect differences, those that measure ability differences, and those that measure both dialect and ability differences. Funding: LSU Aspire and NIDCD RO1DC00981.


Longitudinal Grammaticality Judgments of Tense Marking in Complex Questions in Children with and without Specific Language Impairment (SLI), Ages 5 to 18 years

            Mabel Rice; University of Kansas
            Kathleen Earnest; University of Kansas
            Lesa Hoffman; University of Iowa

 Identification of older children with SLI is an ongoing research and clinical problem.  This study built on earlier studies of omitted finiteness marking in simple sentences by new experimental tasks featuring complex sentences (questions) with 3 potential finiteness marking locations per sentence.  This longitudinal study had two groups of children:  SLI who met classic criteria at entrance and unaffected comparison children, ages 5-18.  A total of 483 participants with 3-17 longitudinal assessments including 4 experimental sentence variants with or without missing finiteness markers, and covariate measures (nonverbal IQ, mother’s education, PPVT, sex, start age).  Key outcomes are persistently lower performance by the SLI group, across 4 sentence types although similarity of change over time; covariate effects on intercept but not slope (pattern of change over time) which is similar across groups.   Research implications are that such tasks can identify SLI into adolescence.  Clinical applications point toward better


Longitudinal Grammaticality Judgments of Tense Marking in Complex Questions in Children with and without Specific Language Impairment (SLI), Ages 5 to 18 years

            Mabel Rice; University of Kansas
            Kathleen Earnest; University of Kansas
            Lesa Hoffman; University of Iowa

 Identification of older children with SLI is an ongoing research and clinical problem.  This study built on earlier studies of omitted finiteness marking in simple sentences by new experimental tasks featuring complex sentences (questions) with 3 potential finiteness marking locations per sentence.  This longitudinal study had two groups of children:  SLI who met classic criteria at entrance and unaffected comparison children, ages 5-18.  A total of 483 participants with 3-17 longitudinal assessments including 4 experimental sentence variants with or without missing finiteness markers, and covariate measures (nonverbal IQ, mother’s education, PPVT, sex, start age).  Key outcomes are persistently lower performance by the SLI group, across 4 sentence types although similarity of change over time; covariate effects on intercept but not slope (pattern of change over time) which is similar across groups.   Research implications are that such tasks can identify SLI into adolescence.  Clinical applications point toward better identification and choice of grammar tasks for training goals.  R01DC001803


Morphosyntactic errors of children with and without phonological disorders

            Elizabeth Roepke; Purdue University
            Françoise Brosseau-Lapré; Purdue University

Phonological disorders are considered a language-based speech sound disorder. Children with phonological disorders often have deficits in the processing of specific speech sounds. Because many bound morphemes are marked by a single phoneme (e.g., /s/ for possessive, plural, third person singular), it is possible that children with phonological disorders produce more morphosyntactic errors on certain bound morphemes than children with typical speech. Participants included 40 preschool-age children matched preschool-age children (20 with typical speech and language, 20 with a phonological disorder and typical language) matched on age, gender, maternal education, nonverbal intelligence, expressive and receptive vocabulary, and expressive morphosyntax. An item analysis on the SPELT-P2 revealed that children with phonological disorders produce more errors on irregular verbs than children with typical speech development. Implications for phonological processing based on part of language (morpheme vs. phoneme), phoneme type (vowel vs. consonant) and word position (word-initial, word-medial, word-final) are discussed.

The work reported in this article was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD R21DC016142).


Key elements of SLP services for preschool children: perspectives of school and health care service providers and managers

            Élody Ross-Lévesque; Université Laval
            Emmanuelle Careau; Université Laval
            Chantal Desmarais; Université Laval

Children with language difficulties are less prepared to enter kindergarten. To support these children, preschool speech-language intervention is recommended. However, access to and quality of services can vary greatly. This study aims to explore service-delivery perspectives of services providers and managers in one urban and one rural area. The objective is to highlight keys elements of speech-language pathology (SLP) services to better support school readiness of children with language difficulties. Methods. Two focus-groups were organized with fifteen school and health care service providers and managers and a qualitative thematic analysis was carried out. Results. Five key elements of SLP service were highlighted: 1) promote community initiatives, 2) train and support caregivers, 3) apply practice changes, 4) set up mechanisms for continuity of initiatives and better support information flow, 5) offer flexible services adapted to families’ needs. Conclusion In line with current practice recommendations, these key elements should be put forward in decision making about SLP service delivery in order to better support school readiness in children with language difficulties.

Funding sources: Université Laval, Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale.


The use of first mentions in narratives by Mandarin-speaking children at risk for Developmental Language Disorder

            Huanhuan Shi; New York University
            Li Sheng; University of Delaware
            Li Zheng; Nanjing Normal University

This study investigated the referring expressions used for first mentions (FMs) of characters in narrative discourse by a group of monolingual Mandarin-speaking children at risk for developmental disorder (DLD) and typically developing (TD) controls matched by age and nonverbal IQ. The aim is to evaluate if the at-risk group shows deficits in the use of FMs in narrative discourse. Twenty-one at-risk children and 21 TD controls participated in the study. Each child produced two stories (a story-telling and a story-retelling) using the Multilingual Assessment Instrument of Narrative. FMs of animate characters were compared between groups on adequacy (i.e., adequate vs. inadequate) and position (i.e., preverbal vs. postverbal). The at-risk group used marginally more inadequate FMs than the TD controls. The at-risk group used more preverbal position, a developmentally less advanced position, than the TD group. These results suggest that Mandarin-speaking children at risk for DLD have difficulty in appropriately introducing a character in narrative discourse. This project was funded by Humanities and Social Sciences projects of the Chinese Ministry of Education (17YJAZH132)


Are Palm Reversals the Pronoun Reversals of Sign Language?

            Megan Igel; Miami University
            Aaron Shield; Miami University

Several studies have now documented that signing children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sometimes reverse the direction of their palm while signing American Sign Language (ASL). We sought to understand if such errors were associated with a specific cognitive-linguistic profile. 17 native-signing children with ASD (ages 5-14) and 24 typically-developing (TD), native-signing children (ages 6-13) were administered a battery of tasks measuring receptive and expressive language, nonverbal intelligence, and social cognition. Children with ASD produced more palm reversals than TD children (p <.05), and the five children with ASD who produced = 2 palm reversals had lower receptive language abilities than the 12 participants with ASD who produced =1 palm reversal errors (p =.01). The overall low rate of palm reversal errors is similar to studies finding that pronoun reversals occur relatively infrequently in hearing children with ASD (e.g., 4-6% of pronouns; Naigles et al, 2016), and our results align with studies that conclude that pronoun reversals are the product of delayed language development (e.g., Tager-Flusberg et al., 1990; Tek et al., 2014). Funding: NIDCD grant F32-DC011219 to A. Shield.


The effects of phonological and semantic interference on spoken word recognition in late talkers

            Elizabeth Schoen Simmons; Sacred Heart University; Haskins Laboratories
            Rhea Paul; Sacred Heart University; Haskins Laboratories
            Richard Aslin; Yale University; Haskins Laboratories
            James S. Magnuson; University of Connecticut

Late talkers (LTs) are toddlers, 18-35 months of age, with delayed expressive language in the absence of obvious co-morbidities. The literature on LTs focuses primarily on their frank production deficits and word learning skills with less attention focused on language comprehension despite hints in the literature of lexical processing differences in school-age children with oral and written language disorders. We evaluated online lexical processing in a group of LTs (n = 10) and typically developing, chronologically age-matched toddlers (n = 15). Participants completed a simplified visual world paradigm task. Eye movements to two pictures (a target word and a phonological competitor, a semantic competitor, or an unrelated item) were tracked as a spoken instruction to look at the target word was presented. The LTs showed greater competition (longer fixations to phonologically and semantically related items) compared to typical toddlers. Our findings suggest that early deficits in resolving lexical competition may be present in some late talking toddlers. This project was funded by the NIH (F31 DC018220-01; E. Schoen Simmons, PI) and NSF (DGE-1144399 and BCS 1754284;  J. Magnuson, PI).


Inhibition Predicts Morphosyntax as well as Lexicon in Child Spanish

            Nina Sorine; The Ohio State University
            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University

Studies of monolingual English and bilingual child English and Spanish of the interaction of inhibition and lexical development have consistently shown an association between the two cognitive abilities. Furthermore, cross-lag design studies have shown that early lexical abilities predict later inhibitory abilities, but not vice-versa. The results for the connection between inhibition and grammar, however, are more mixed. We show in a cross-sectional sample of typically-developing, monolingual Spanish-speaking children from Mexico City that inhibition is predicted by multiple measures of lexicon as well as by multiple measures of morphosyntax. The implication for the interaction of the developing lexicon and morphosyntactic grammar are considered. This project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF-1551903) and The Ohio State University's STEP.


The Impact of Electronic Toys on the Quality and Quantity of Linguistic Input Provided by Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Mackenzie Sturman; Michigan State University
            Courtney  E. Venker; Michigan State University

Recent research has shown that electronic toys, which have become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, may decrease the linguistic quality of parent utterances in typically developing (TD) children. However, there are few studies that investigate the impact electronic toys may have on parent-child interactions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who may also exhibit delays in language development. The current study investigated parent-child interactions during two, 10-minute, play sessions. Participants included 10 children with ASD (2-4 years old) and their parents. One session utilized traditional toys, and the other utilized electronic toys (counterbalanced across participants). The lexical diversity of parent language was significantly higher during traditional toy play than during electronic toy play. Grammatical complexity did not significantly differ between toy types. Preliminary findings suggest that electronic toy play may elicit lower quality language input from parents of children with ASD than traditional toy play. Research Grant from the Center for Research in Autism Intellectual, and Other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Michigan State University (Venker, PI); R21 DC 016102 (Venker, PI).


Characterizing Linguistic Complexity in Parent Speech  to Young Children with Autism: Beyond MLU

            Kendra Peffers; Michigan State University
            Jenny Johnson; Michigan State University
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University

The fine-tuning hypothesis proposes that parents adjust the linguistic complexity of their speech based on their child’s developmental level. This proposal has important theoretical and clinical implications, particularly for optimizing parent-mediated interventions for children with autism. However, the linguistic complexity of parent speech is typically measured using mean length of utterance (MLU), which provides an incomplete picture. This project investigates a novel approach to characterizing the linguistic complexity of parent speech by considering not only MLU, but also the standard deviation (SD) of parent utterance length (a measure of variability) and maximum parent utterance length (a measure of maximum complexity). Child MLU was significantly and positively correlated with variability in parent utterance length. On average, parents’ longest utterances were 8 morphemes longer than children’s longest utterances. Considering measures of linguistic complexity beyond MLU will advance our understanding of parent fine-tuning and allow parent-mediated language interventions to be refined accordingly. This work was supported by: R21 DC 016102; Venker, PI, and a Research Grant from the Center for Research in Autism Intellectual, and Other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Michigan State University; Venker, PI.


Examining associations between home literacy environment and white matter organization in infancy in relation to subsequent language abilities in toddlerhood

            Jennifer Zuk; Boston University, Boston Children's Hospital
            Joseph Sanfilippo; Boston Children's Hospital
            Kathryn Garrisi; Harvard Graduate School of Education
            Jolijn Vanderauwera; Boston Children's Hospital
            Ted Turesky; Harvard Graduate School of Education
            Ally Lee; Harvard Graduate School of Education
            Borjan Gagoski; Boston Children's Hospital
            P. Ellen Grant; Boston Children's Hospital
            Nadine Gaab; Harvard Graduate School of Education

Environmental input is understood to play a crucial role in shaping language development and corresponding neural pathways, most prominently the arcuate fasciculus (AF). Yet, it remains unclear how the home literacy environment (HLE) may shape the brain and behavioral correlates of language acquisition in early childhood. The present study investigates longitudinal associations between HLE in infancy and toddler-age language abilities, and the role of the left AF in underlying these relationships. Structural neuroimaging was acquired in infancy (mean age: 8 months), and follow-up language assessment was completed in toddlerhood (mean age: 19 months). Preliminary longitudinal analyses reveal that HLE in infancy significantly contributes to the prediction of toddler-age receptive and expressive language abilities, and point towards structural organization of the left AF as a neural pathway contributing to these relationships. This work suggests that HLE and language-related white matter organization set an important foundation from infancy in shaping the trajectory of typical and atypical language and literacy development in early childhood, which is then further modified by ongoing input and experience. This research is funded by NIH–NICHD R01 HD065762.


Late Bloomer or Language Disorder? Paying attention to structural differences in late talkers’ vocabulary knowledge

            Lynn Perry; University of Miami
            Sarah Kucker; Oklahoma State University
            Jessica Horst; University of Sussex
            Larissa Samuelson; University of East Anglia

Late talkers are heterogeneous in their developmental trajectories. Some eventually “catch-up”, but others are later diagnosed with developmental language disorder (DLD). We use vocabulary structure as a tool for exploring this heterogeneity. Most typically developing (TD) children have vocabularies dominated by names for categories organized by similarity in shape (e.g., cup). However, differences in vocabulary structure have consequences for word learning. Here, we examined differences in vocabulary structure at 1.5 years to predict which late talkers had persistent delays and which did not. At 1.5, late talkers who continued to show delays at 2.5 years knew a smaller proportion of shape-based nouns than both TD children and those late talkers who “caught up” to more typically sized vocabularies at 2.5. Additionally, children who went on to receive a DLD diagnosis between 4-7 years knew a smaller proportion of shape-based nouns at 1.5 than TD children or children who received other diagnoses (e.g., dyslexia). Together, these findings bring new insight into sources of heterogeneity amongst late talkers and offer a new metric for assessing risk. This work was funded by NICHD.

Poster Session #3


Establishing reliable scoring of a narrative retell assessment tool currently used in practice

            Taylor Bardell; Western University
            MaryAnn Schouten; Upper Grand District School Board
            Kristen Smith; Upper Grand District School Board
            Lisa Archibald; Western University

Narratives account for the majority of conversation and are related to literacy outcomes. We formed a practice-based research partnership with SLPs from a local school board to evaluate their narrative intervention program. The program utilizes an assessment tool that features the retelling of a narrative based on one of two wordless storybooks. Retell of the story is scored according to a guide created by the SLPs. The current work assesses the reliability of these guides. A total of 266 kindergarten to grade 2 children completed a retell task as part of a normative study. To ensure consistency between the scoring in the study and the program, an SLP from the program rated 53 transcripts. Satisfactory interrater reliability was not reached. A team of SLPs and the researcher revised the guides with the aim of increasing clarity. Three additional SLPs from the program then scored the transcripts, and high reliability was observed. Novel scorers then scored a subset of transcripts, and reliability was found to be highly consistent. This research was supported by a SSHRC partnership development grant to Lisa Archibald.


Functional brain networks organization during working memory updating in adults with Developmental Language Disorder: Evidence for alterations in fronto-parietal networks and its connectivity with cerebellar networks

            Chandramallika Basak; University of Texas at Dallas
            Paulina Skolasinska; University of Texas at Dallas
            Amy Berglund-Barraza; University of Texas at Dallas
            Julia Evans; University of Texas at Dallas

Studies of developmental language disorder (DLD) suggest that for children with DLD no longer meeting the disorder’s diagnostic criteria or whose disorder profile shifted with age, abnormal neural profiles exist. The current study investigated the dynamic organization of large-scale brain networks involved during verbal working memory, a core ability that is fundamental to reading comprehension and language processing. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) combined with a single-subject design examined behavioral performance and functional connectivity during a working memory task in two adults with DLD, and compared them to 12 normal language controls. For behavioral measures, standardized z-scores for the adults with DLD fell within the normal range. However, their cognitive control networks were markedly outside the normal limits, characterized by an abnormal low connectivity (esp. fronto-parietal network), coupled with strong engagement of cerebellar connectivity. These findings suggest abnormal and compensatory network reorganization in young adults with DLD who exhibit behavior resembling that of typical adults. This project was funded by University of Texas STARS award (Evans, PI) and a grant from National Institute on Aging (Basak, PI).


Investigating the role of language and literacy in children’s mathematics achievement: A quantile regression approach

            Jessica Chan; University of South Carolina
            Lisa Fitton; University of South Carolina
            Suzanne Adlof; University of South Carolina

Strong language abilities are critical for academic success. Children use oral language to communicate and develop early number sense and literacy skills. Recent studies have shown a strong association between reading and math disabilities, which may be due to the shared influence of oral language on both domains. The purpose of the study is to examine the independent and shared relationship between oral language, word reading, and math at multiple quantiles of math achievement in second graders. Using quantile regression, we examined second grade children’s (n=475) performance on measures of oral language, word reading, and math achievement. Our findings highlight a changing relationship between language and word-reading skills and math achievement across the levels of math achievement, such that the strongest associations are observed at the lowest levels of math achievement. Funding sources include the SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship (PI: Jessica Chan) awarded from the Government of Canada which supported study development and analyses, and the NIDCD of the NIH under award number R03DC013399 (PI: Suzanne Adlof) which supported participant recruitment and data collection.


Cumulative semantic interference in 3- to 6-year old children: Effects of picture naming on lexical access

            Tieghan Baird; University of Alberta
            Sandra Wiebe; University of Alberta
            Monique Charest; University of Alberta

We examined cumulative costs to speed and accuracy of picture naming as a function of prior naming experiences in young children. Cumulative semantic interference (CSI) effects provide insight into experience-driven changes in the strength of lexical pathways: As connections to a target word are strengthened through production, semantically-related competitor words become more difficult to access. These effects have received little attention in early development. Eighty children with typical language development from 3 to 6 years of age named items from twelve semantic categories. Up to eight unrelated trials intervened between exemplars from a given category. Preliminary analyses indicate linear increases in naming errors and response latencies as a function of prior related responses. Further analyses will investigate predictors of individual differences in CSI effects. These findings demonstrate continuity with effects observed in adults. They invite further investigation of how lexical representation and processing are shaped by speaking experiences, in children with typical and atypical language development.

Funding for this research was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Program #430-2016-01045.


Grammatical development of Chinese-speaking children who are hard of hearing in comparison with normal hearing peers

            Chia-Ying Chu; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Yi-Chih Chan; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Chieh-An Chen; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Ting-Hua Ke; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Yi-Hsin Tsai; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Xijun Wang; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation
            Pei-Hua Chen; Speech and Hearing Science Research Institute, Children's Hearing Foundation

The current study aims to compare the grammatical development of Chinese-speaking children who are hard of hearing(CHH) and their normal hearing peers(CNH). Both morphological and syntactic development will be assessed by examining the mean length of utterance(MLU) and the productive syntactic structure using spontaneous language samples, in order to better understand the language development of Chinese-speaking CHH with mild to moderate hearing loss. Total of eight Chinese-speaking children aged one and four participated so far, with four CHH and four CNH. The preliminary findings suggest that Chinese-speaking CHH show age-appropriate ability in morphological development, but their syntactic development seems to lag behind as their age increases.


Word Learning with Orthographic Support in Minimally Verbal Children with Autism

            Grace Clark; New York University
            Christina Reuterskiold; New York University

One in 40 children will be diagnosed with autism, and of these, 30-50% will be minimally verbal resulting in little functional expressive language by kindergarten age. Typically developing children and children with DLD, high-functioning autism, and Down syndrome benefit from the presence of orthography during word learning tasks. To date, no studies have shown whether orthography can also support word learning for minimally verbal children with autism. A within-subjects design was used to determine if the presence of orthography leads to more accurate and efficient word learning for this population. A multi-level model was used to predict performance on word learning tasks based on an individual’s receptive language, autism severity, and literacy abilities. Four CVC nonwords were taught- two with orthography present and two with orthography absent- using the online platform Gorilla and beta webcam eye-tracking. Results will be discussed in light of the current research on word-learning for minimally verbal children with autism and how to best help this population learn to comprehend and express a variety of concepts using augmentative and alternative communication.

Funding sources: NYU Steinhardt Fellowship


The Usability of an Assessment Procedure for Evaluating Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs

            Olivia Daub; University of Western Ontario
            BJ Cunningham; University of Western Ontario
            Janis Oram Cardy; University of Western Ontario

Routine spoken language monitoring is a principle underlying Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs. However, we lack evidence to support specific methods for assessing spoken language for outcome monitoring and program evaluation.

We piloted a spoken language outcome monitoring procedure that included administering the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories -2 (MBCDI-2) and the Preschool Language Scale - 5 (PLS-5) at set intervals for one year in an EHDI program. Linear regressions evaluated whether test scores could be predicted by factors known to be associated with spoken language outcomes for children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing (hearing thresholds and the presence/absence of additional developmental factors). Change over time was evaluated by comparing scores for each assessment between two timepoints.

The PLS-5 growth scale values were sensitive to predictors of spoken language outcome and change over time. The MBCDI-2 percentiles were not sensitive to either. Results of this evaluation provide preliminary evidence that an outcome monitoring procedure using the PLS-5 could support the evaluation of spoken language outcomes in EHDI programs.

The Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services supported this work.


Focus on Communicative Participation in preschoolers with DLD

            Maartje de Klerk; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Emma Dijkstra; Royal Dutch Kentalis
            Rosanne van der Zee; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child
            Michelle Bak; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child
            Sanne Peet; Royal Dutch Kentalis
            Marijke Zoons; Adelante, the Netherlands

Preschoolers with (presumed) Language Development Disorder (DLD) have low communicative participations skills. Within the early intervention treatment groups of the Dutch centers of expertise for children with DLD, these skills are not monitored. Recently a Dutch version of the Focus on Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS) is available, the FOCUS-34-NL, which is designed to monitor the communication skills of children (1;6-5;11 years).

We investigated 1) the added value and usability of the FOCUS questionnaire according to speech and language therapists (SLPs) and parents and 2) the development of communication skills in preschoolers with (presumed) DLD, measured with the FOCUS-34-NL.

The FOCUS-34-NL was filled out by one of the parents (n = 86) at T1, the start of the early intervention treatment group. At timepoint 2, six months later, parents (n = 73) again filled out the FOCUS-34-NL. An evaluation of the FOCUS was filled out by the parents at T2 (n = 42). SLPs filled out an evaluation form at T1 (n = 27) and T2 (n = 16). Currently, we are collecting the final data.

(Funded by ZonMW).


Mental State Discourse in Spoken Narratives of African American Preschoolers: Relationships to AAE Dialect, Syntax, Vocabulary, and Theory of Mind Understanding.

            Peter de Villiers; Smith College
            Ran Yan; Smith College
            Vivian Almaraz; Smith College
            Dorithy Barnieh; Smith College
            Shabathyah Charles; Smith College
            Nyla Conaway; Smith College
            Ellory Doyle; Smith College

An essential development in children's narratives is making explicit references to the mental states of characters -- the "landscape of consciousness". Authentic stories tell what characters feel, want, think and know about events and actions. We studied spoken narratives of 50 African American (AA) preschoolers from low-income communities longitudinally to determine how children's mental state discourse is related to their language acquisition (syntax, vocabulary, and depth of African American English (AAE) dialect), and their theory of mind development. Children were assessed near the beginning of the preschool year (mean age 4;6) and again seven months later (mean age 5;1) using dialect-neutral narrative and language measures and standard ToM tasks. References to desires and cognitions of the characters in narrative development during the preschool years was independent of AA children's use of AAE. Growth of the landscape of consciousness in their story-telling depended on having the complex syntax to talk about cognitive states (complement structures), and on an understanding of access to knowledge and of other people's false beliefs. These findings should inform narrative interventions with language-delayed children.

NICHD P01 HD048497


Dynamic Assessment with Bilingual Children: Implications for Improving Accuracy of Identification for Language and Reading Disorders

            Katelyn Dietrich; St. Cloud State University
            Janet Tilstra; St. Cloud State University

Dynamic assessment (DA) examines learning. DA has been effective in accurately identifying bilingual learners struggling with reading and language, without mistakenly identifying language acquisition as disability. The purpose of this study was to examine: 1) whether a DA measure added predictive value to 1st grade reading scores beyond other data 2) if students benefited from DA 3) the relationship between DA screener and teacher perceptions of students’ learning. Fifty-nine kindergarteners (majority Somali/English speakers) participated in one DA session assessing reading and storytelling accuracy and responsiveness. Teachers rated student’s patterns during typical literacy instruction. Stepwise linear regression was used to determine predictive importance on 1st grade reading. A two-tailed t-test was used to compare pre and posttests. Correlations compared DA and teacher ratings.The stepwise regression revealed the best fitting regression model for predicting reading scores was a model with 2 variables, WIDA Literacy Score, a measure of English proficiency, as the first  and PEARL Storytelling Score + Teaching Responsiveness, a DA, as second. Results indicated significant changes pre to post test and moderate correlations between teacher ratings and DA.


The relation between language development, intelligibility and communicative participation in 4-year olds with (presumed) DLD.

            Wendy Bliekendaal; Royal Dutch Auris Group
            Iris Duinmeijer; Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK)
            Annette Scheper; Royal Dutch Kentalis
            Marijke Zoons; Adelante Healthcare
            Margo Zwitserlood; Pento Centre for Audiology

Developmental language disorder (DLD) affects approximately 5% of the children and is characterized by profound problems in language development without a clear cause (Leonard, 2014). Research in children with and without DLD has demonstrated a relationship between language functioning and other domains, such as communicative participation, academic achievement & social-emotional functioning. However, little is known on the factors that predict the variation in developmental patterns and outcomes in the different domains.

In this study, longitudinal data is collected from 600 Dutch children with (presumed) DLD. They are followed from 4 years of age till adulthood and data is gathered at important transition points, such as the start at primary school or the transition to high school. Development is measured with standardized tests, (parental) questionnaires such as the Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS) or via the collection of scores from learning management systems in schools. In this presentation, the relation between language functioning, intelligibility and communicative participation is investigated when children are hallway through their first year in kindergarten (4,5 years of age).


A Low-Language Alternative for Measuring Academic Science Vocabulary Depth

            Jessie A. Erikson; University of Arizona
            Siena Schoelen; University of Arizona
            Mary Alt; University of Arizona
            Adarsh Pyarelal; University of Arizona

Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) often have limited vocabulary knowledge. They not only know fewer words, but they also have shallower semantic representations (i.e., less depth). Vocabulary depth is commonly measured by definition tasks, which may underestimate semantic knowledge in individuals with language challenges. We have created an image-based alternative for measuring academic science vocabulary depth in school-aged children with DLD, who may have difficulty expressing semantic knowledge verbally. Our research questions include (1) Does this novel task capture a range of performance in children with and without DLD? and (2) How does performance on this novel task compare with performance on a definition production task? We will present on early findings related to the task’s psychometrics, including examining for ceiling and/or floor effects. In addition, we will demonstrate how children’s performance on this novel depth task compares with performance on a definition production task. By limiting the language load, this novel task may allow us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of semantic knowledge in children with DLD. There are no funding sources to report.


Development of a Spanish Grammatical Productivity Measure for Preschool-aged Spanish-English Bilingual Children

            Alicia Escobedo; San Diego State University/UC San Diego
            John Gallagher; San Diego State University
            Irina Potapova; San Diego State University
            Sonja Pruitt-Lord; San Diego State University

Previous research on grammatical productivity in English monolingual toddlers has established this approach as a valid indicator of a child’s language ability (Hadley & Short, 2005). Specifically, productivity of English morphemes that mark tense and agreement has been shown to differentiate between typically developing (TD) children and those at-risk of developmental language disorder (DLD; Hadley & Short, 2005). Productivity-based measures have also successfully been extended to Spanish-English bilingual children, though only in English (Potapova et al., 2018). Less attention has been paid to the development of Spanish grammatical productivity in Spanish-English bilingual children. This study aims to examine the development of Spanish grammatical structures through a productivity-based measure in preschool-aged Spanish-English bilingual children across a school year. Though only English productivity increased significantly at the group level, children demonstrated growth in productive use of both English and Spanish grammatical structures. Future directions include identification of Spanish grammatical structures that would best contribute to a measure of Spanish productivity in order to accurately assess both of a bilingual child’s languages. Funding: Research Grant from a local community foundation, NIDCD T32 DC00731-11.


Speech or Language? Sources of Variability in Maternal Input to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

            Lama Farran; University of West Georgia
            D. Kimbrough Oller; University of Memphis; The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research

Current research suggests a robust link between maternal input and speech and language outcomes in typically developing children. Little is known, however, about this link in preschool children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This study examines the association between maternal input (differential use of IDS baby register versus IDS adult register, lexical diversity), speech volubility (vocalization frequency), and language skills in children with ASD. Nine mothers and their three- to five-year-old children with ASD were audio- and video-recorded for 10 minutes during free play interaction in their homes. We coded maternal IDS and child utterances using AACT and maternal lexical diversity using CLAN. Results showed a strong tendency (r = -.89) for higher child volubility to predict lower baby register use. Moreover, maternal lexical diversity was associated with both adult register use (r = .85) and children’s receptive language skills. Mothers of preschool children with ASD may tailor their input to include lexical diversity and adult-like characteristics of prosody as a function of both their children’s volubility and language abilities. Implications for early parent-mediated language intervention in ASD are highlighted.

Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy.


Assessing Relationships Among Age, Language Variation, and Narrative Microstructure

            Isabelle Francois; University of Houston
            Monique Mills; University of Houston


To examine morphosyntax produced in the spoken narratives of school-age African American children.


Forty-nine African American children with typical development, ages 7- to 10 years, produced four narratives and completed the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation-Screening Test (DELV-S)—a measure of dialect variation. The DELV-S classifies children as having no, some or strong variation from Mainstream American English (MAE). We computed scores on two measures of morphosyntax: Developmental Sentence Scoring (DSS) and Index of Productive Syntax (IPsyn). We then employed regression analysis to examine how well age in months and language variation predicted scores on the DSS and IPsyn.


Preliminary results indicate age and language variation predict scores on DSS but not IPSyn.


Examining school-age African American children’s facility with rare vocabulary appears to be a dialect-neutral way to measure their narrative language.


Piecewise Structural Equation Modeling of the Quantity Implicature in Child Language

            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University
            Pedro Ortiz-Ramírez; The Ohio State University
            Ximena Carreto-Guadarrama; The Ohio State University
            Ana Arrieta-Zamudio; University of British Columbia
            Amy Pratt; University of California, Irvine
            Myriam Cantú-Sánchez; Universitat de Barcelona
            Jonathan Lefcheck; Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, MarineGEO, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
            David Melamed; The Ohio State University

What domains of cognition interact to drive Quantity Implicature interpretations and can we model them effectively with smaller sample sizes than those used by globally-estimated Structural Equation Models? We review a range of obstacles to measuring children’s generation of the “some, but not all” Quantity Implicature with existential quantifiers as well as other factors, which have been identified that are helpful to producing implicature interpretations in children in Truth-Value Judgment Tasks. In traditional social and behavioral science statistical models, it is difficult to model hierarchical networks or systems of variables, without very large-scale studies allowing for globally-estimated Structural Equation Models. Ecological studies in the life science, however, use locally-estimated Piecewise Structural Equation Models to overcome the need for hundreds of participants. We conclude that 6 year-old Spanish-speakers show adult-like Quantity Implicature generation and that Number, Lexicon, Syntax and Inhibition all play a role in this interpretation. We further conclude that the Piecewise Structural Equation Modeling technique can be profitably applied to the cognitive variables that seem conceptually necessary for the interpretation of existential quantifiers.


Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Fallout of Concomitant Language Disorder on ADHD

            Kirsten Hannig; University of Utah
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah
            Andrea Ash; University of Utah

Language Disorder (LD)  and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been independently linked to increased risk for social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Generally, comorbidity among disorders is associated with increased severity of primary symptoms and poorer outcomes. In this study, we compared parental ratings of behavioral and socioemotional problems collected on 90 children (age range: 6;0 – 9;9) representing matched cases of comorbid ADHD+LD, ADHD-only, and typical development (TD). Our aim was to determine the extent to which co-occurring ADHD+LD resulted in increased risk for elevated primary ADHD symptoms, related behavioral problems, or difficulty with academic and/or social/interpersonal skills. ANOVAs and post-hoc testing revealed delimited impacts of comorbid ADHD+LD. Primary symptoms of ADHD were not elevated for the ADHD+LD group, relative to the ADHD-only group. Relative to the TD and ADHD-only groups, children with ADHD+LD demonstrated elevated risk for externalizing symptoms, oppositional defiant problems, conduct problems, and academic performance. These results suggest children with ADHD and elevated externalizing behavior problems should be routinely assessed for possible language impairments. Funding source: NIDCD R01DC011023.


The role of novelty in accounting for morphological deficits of children with Developmental Language Disorder: A computational modeling study

            Zara Harmon; University of Maryland College Park
            Libby Barak; Rutgers University
            Patrick Shafto; Rutgers University
            Jan Edwards; University of Maryland College Park
            Naomi Feldman; University of Maryland College Park

Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) regularly use the base form of verbs (walk) instead of inflected forms (walked). We propose that children with DLD have difficulty processing novel inflected verbs in their input; this leads the inflected form to face stronger competition from alternatives. Competition is resolved by the production of a higher-frequency alternative with high semantic overlap with the inflected form: in English, the base-form. We test our account computationally by training a nonparametric Bayesian model that infers the productivity of the inflectional suffix from data.  We systematically vary the number of novel types of inflected verbs in the input to simulate the input available to typically developing children and children with DLD. We found that models with a reduced number of novel inflected types in their input yielded lower production probabilities for the target suffix, suggesting that children’s inconsistent use of inflectional morphemes could stem from inferences they make on the basis of incomplete data. These results suggest interventions may be more effective if low-frequency verbs were chosen as targets. This study is supported by NIDCD R21DC017217.


The development of verb vocabularies: Are late talkers actually different from their typically developing peers?

            Sabrina Horvath; Purdue University
            Justin B. Kueser; Purdue University
            Jaelyn Kelly; Purdue University
            Arielle Borovsky; Purdue University

In comparison to age-matched typically developing peers (TDs), late talkers (LTs) produce different types of verbs at age two (Horvath et al., 2019). Here, we measure productive verb vocabulary across toddlerhood to determine whether LTs have a distinct learning trajectory or whether LTs show a delayed but similar pattern to TDs. We use MBCDI data from Wordbank (Frank et al., 2016) to compare TDs’ (N = 4699) and LTs’ (N = 821) verb vocabularies between 16 and 30 months. Verbs were coded for their average syntactic complexity (estimated as number of arguments in child-directed speech from CHILDES) and semantic properties (manner/result; durative/punctual). Both groups increased syntactically-complex verb production with age. Across development, TDs were more likely to produce manner verbs, which encode how an action is completed, whereas LTs were more likely to produce result verbs, which encode the event endstate. These findings indicate that differences between LTs and TDs are not simply due to delay; instead, LTs build their verb vocabularies differently from the outset. Funding: HD052120, T32DC000030, and F31DC018435.


The effect of personalized vocabulary intervention for dual language preschool learners

            Pui Fong Kan; University of Colorado Boulder
            Colunga Eliana; University of Colorado Boulder
            Jennifer Weber; University of Colorado Boulder
            Shirley Huang; University of Colorado Boulder

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of a personalized teacher-implemented vocabulary intervention for dual language preschool learners. One unique feature in this study was that we did not explicitly provide teaching instructions to the teachers. The main question is whether children learn new words delivered by teachers who use their teaching strategies in classroom settings. Participants were 21 typically-developing Cantonese-English dual language learners. Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group for a 3-week intervention program. Each participant was taught a unique set of 12 new words (4 words per week) by his/her teacher during free play or transition time in the classroom. The target words for the experimental group were generated by a computational model, while the target words for the control group were developmentally-appropriate. Teachers' strategies were obtained by a questionnaire and a follow-up interview after the intervention program.  Results showed that children learned new words in both languages during the free time in the classroom. Clinical implications will be discussed.


The Effect of Spanish and English Language Proficiency on Children’s Speech Intelligibility

            Maria Kapantzoglou; Portland State University
            Lidia Echeverria-Garcia; University of Oregon
            Camryn Perez; University of Washington

The Percentage of Consonants Correct (PCC) is a traditional measure of speech sound ability and speech intelligibility. Previous studies have used PCC to examine differences between Spanish-English speaking children and monolingual peers. However, there is limited information about how language proficiency in each language may affect the PCC in bilingual children. The present study examines the relationship between language proficiency and PCC in narrative samples of 5- to 7-year-old Spanish-English speaking children.

NIH Build EXITO grant to Portland State University (PI: Carlos Crespo; 2UL1GM118964-06); Faculty Enhancement Grant, Portland State University (PI: Maria Kapantzoglou)


The Effect of Spanish and English Language Proficiency on Children’s Speech Intelligibility

            Maria Kapantzoglou; Portland State University
            Lidia Echeverria-Garcia; University of Oregon
            Camryn Perez; University of Washington

The Percentage of Consonants Correct (PCC) is a traditional measure of speech sound ability and speech intelligibility. Previous studies have used PCC to examine differences between Spanish-English speaking children and monolingual peers. However, there is limited information about how language proficiency in each language may affect the PCC in bilingual children. The present study examines the relationship between language proficiency and PCC in narrative samples of 5- to 7-year-old Spanish-English speaking children.

NIH Build EXITO grant to Portland State University (PI: Carlos Crespo; 2UL1GM118964-06); Faculty Enhancement Grant, Portland State University (PI: Maria Kapantzoglou)


Prosodic patterns during a manual rhythmic sequencing task in children with developmental language disorder

            Kathryn Kreidler; University of Texas at Dallas
            Lisa Goffman; University of Texas at Dallas

Rhythmic sequence production is hypothesized to align with a domain-general cognitive deficit in sequential pattern learning in children with developmental language disorder (DLD; SLI). We assessed prosodic errors in manual rhythmic sequence production in preschoolers with DLD and their peers with typical development (TD). Fifty-seven children (36 with DLD) imitated a rhythmic sequence unimanually (drumming) and bimanually (clapping). Children with DLD produced more prosodic errors than their TD peers and were more likely to omit higher order rhythmic structure altogether by producing unmodulated sequences. Compared with their TD peers, more children with DLD produced co-occurring errors in both initial and final position groupings and showed greater variability in prosodic sequences. Both groups of children produced more errors in final than initial position of the rhythmic sequence. Deficits in manual rhythmic sequence production bolster evidence for a sequential pattern learning account of DLD. Supported by NIH R01 DC04826 and DC016813.


Speech-Language Pathologists’ Knowledge of Dyslexia

            Hannah Krimm; University of Georgia
            Jena McDaniel; University of Kansas
            Hannah Malamud; Vanderbilt University
            C. Melanie Schuele; Vanderbilt University

The purpose of this study was to explore speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs’) beliefs about dyslexia. SLPs demonstrated considerable variability in their beliefs about identification, causes, and eligibility for services for children with dyslexia. Specific areas of concern were in the etiology of dyslexia and eligibility for special education services. Next steps are to examine factors that influence individuals’ beliefs about dyslexia and to design professional development to improve knowledge of dyslexia among SLPs. This study was supported by Vanderbilt University Medical Center CTSA Program Award Number 5UL1TR002243-03.


Identifying Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) in Children

            Alyssa Kuiack; Western University
            Lisa Archibald; Western University

In 2016/2017 consensus was established regarding use of the diagnostic label developmental language disorder (DLD) to describe children with a persistent language problem having a functional impact on communication or learning. Despite this consensus, and significant advocacy for DLD, previous research has indicated that label use has remained inconsistent among speech-language pathologists (SLPs). In response to such inconsistency in practice, a survey of SLPs was conducted aimed at investigating which types of clinical profiles were viewed as warranting the label DLD and which types of assessments were viewed as minimally required to assign the label of DLD. Results indicated a general consensus among SLPs as to when to apply the DLD label. However, symptoms of importance and assessments viewed as necessary for the diagnostic process varied between participants. Specific aspects of language/learning profiles were identified as complicating the diagnostic process and lowering SLP confidence in label provision. The results of this research provide valuable insight into how, in the future, SLPs might achieve more consistency in provision of the diagnostic label DLD.


Do parent musicality and rhythm skills and home music environment predict infant vocabulary development?

            Eniko Ladanyi; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Catherine Bush; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Youjia Wang; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Tiffany G. Woynaroski; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Miriam D. Lense; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Reyna L. Grodon; Vanderbilt University Medical Center

This study investigates longitudinal relations for home music environment, as well as parent musicality and rhythm skills, with infant vocabulary development. We measured home music environment (Music@Home), parent musicality (Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index), and parent rhythm discrimination (brief version of the Beat-Based Advantage test) when infants were 6-12 months and measured infant vocabulary (MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories) when infants were 12, 18 and 24 months (n=45). Preliminary results show that infant vocabulary at 24 months (n=21) is predicted by home music environment (r=.45) and parent musicality (r=.47), while 18-month vocabulary (n=39) is predicted only by home music environment (r=.38). Exploratory analysis of questionnaire subscales shows that parents who sing more to their infant tend to have infants with larger vocabularies, with the magnitude of this relation increasing with age (12mo: r=.32, 18mo: r=.47, 24mo: r=.56). Findings highlight the importance of music experience, especially parent singing, in early vocabulary development and motivate further research on enriched musical environment as a potential protective factor in developmental speech/language disorders. Our research is funded by NIH (1DP2HD098859) and NSF (1926794).


Examining the Association between Joint Attention and Autism Symptoms in Young Children with Down Syndrome during Mother-Child and Father-Child Interactions

            Emily Lorang; University of Wisconsin - Madison, Waisman Center
            Kelsey Stimes; University of Wisconsin - Madison, Waisman Center
            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin - Madison, Waisman Center

Joint attention predicts later language in children with Down syndrome (DS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A heightened percentage of children with DS meet criteria for ASD, yet it is not clear if increased ASD symptoms negatively impact joint attention in DS. This study utilized mother-child and father-child interactions including children with DS to investigate differences in parent joint attention bids and whether parent and child joint attention were associated with child language abilities or ASD symptoms in DS. Mothers initiated more joint attention bids than fathers. Mothers used more bids when children had lower expressive language and more severe ASD symptoms. Child receptive language was associated with better responsiveness to mother joint attention bids whereas fewer ASD symptoms was associated with better responsiveness to father joint attention bids. Children with more ASD symptoms produced fewer joint attention bids with both parents. Findings suggest differences between mother-child and father-child interactions. ASD symptoms may negatively impact joint attention in DS.

Funding: NIH T32 DC005359 (Ellis-Weismer), F31 DC018716 (Lorang), and P30HD03352 (Chang), a Vilas Life Cycle Award (Sterling) and start-up funds (UW-Madison).


Mutual Exclusivity and Language Ability in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Janine Mathee-Scott; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Caroline Larson; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University
            Ron Pomper; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Jan Edwards; University of Maryland
            Jenny Saffran; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Susan Ellis Weismer; University of Wisconsin-Madison

In order to efficiently learn new words, children use constraints such as mutual exclusivity (ME) to narrow the search for potential referents. The current study investigated the use of ME in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) peers. Thirty-two toddlers with ASD and 26 toddlers with TD participated in a looking-while-listening task. On each trial, toddlers were shown images of a novel and familiar object and heard either a novel or familiar label. Toddlers with ASD showed less efficient looking toward a novel referent when a novel label was presented, compared to toddlers with TD, matched on nonverbal cognition. Additionally, extant language ability appeared to play an important role in the use of ME within the ASD group. Funded by NIDCD R01 DC 012513, NIDCD R01 DC17974, and NICHD U54 HD090256


Effectiveness of Responsivity Intervention Strategies on Prelinguistic and Language Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Single Case Studies

            Jena McDaniel; University of Kansas
            Lily Black; University of Kansas
            Mackenna Murphy; University of Kansas
            Steven Warren; University of Kansas
            Nancy Brady; University of Kansas

This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to influence the direction of future research studies and clinical practice by describing the current state of the literature for the effectiveness of responsivity intervention strategies. We conducted a systematic review to identify single case research design studies of children with autism spectrum disorder that evaluate the effectiveness of responsivity intervention techniques for improving prelinguistic and/or language outcomes. Reports were required to meet quality standards to be included in the analyses. Included reports (n=54) used a wide variety of interventions, interventionists, and outcomes. Visual analysis revealed strong evidence of a functional relation for the effectiveness of responsivity intervention strategies on prelinguistic and language skills for approximately half of the graphs and no evidence for nearly all remaining graphs. This substantial heterogeneity across studies is further highlighted in the effect size analyses. The effect size analyses showed overall more positive results than the visual analysis. The mean between-case standardized mean difference was large, significant, and positive. Future directions include testing moderators to explain heterogeneity of the results. This work was supported by NICHD U54HD090216.


Theatre Camp for Students with ASD: An Intensive Narrative Intervention and Unique Interprofessional Educational Experience

            Janet Tilstra; St. Cloud State University
            Haley Mehr; St. Cloud State University
            Rachel Carlsgaard; St. Cloud State University

Middle grade children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) participated in an intensive weeklong summer theatre camp narrative language intervention. The project introduced CSD students to a contextualized, intensive intervention format, allowed performance artists to develop both language and theatre skills, and promoted interprofessional education.  Fifth to 8th grade participants completed daily narrative language intervention sessions and acting workshops. In partnership with local community theatre instructors, Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) graduate students were involved in the curricular design, co-leading the camp with theatre instructors, and analyzing data after the camp. Participants showed improvements in overall and micro level elements of narrative language. CSD graduate students and theatre instructors increased their value of interprofessional collaboration. School of Health and Human Services.


Sentence Diversity as a Less-Biased Language Measure for Preschoolers Who Speak African American English

            Maura Moyle; Marquette University
            Denise Finneran; University of Oklahoma
            John Heilmann; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
            Stephanie Fay; Marquette University

Accurately assessing children who speak nonmainstream English dialects, such as African American English (AAE), can be challenging for speech-language pathologists. Language sampling is a less biased method of assessing children’s language skills; however, language sample transcription can be time intensive. The goal of this study was to examine the potential of a sentence diversity measure to serve as a less-biased language measure for AAE-speaking preschoolers living in low-income communities. Participants included 42 Head Start preschoolers who spoke AAE. Narrative language samples were elicited using a wordless picture book. Correlational analyses revealed that the sentence diversity measure was strongly related to other language sample measures and unrelated to AAE dialect density. Results of this preliminary research suggest that sentence diversity scoring is a valid index of children’s narrative language skills.  In addition, the sentence diversity measure appears to be appropriate for use with children who speak AAE and does not require knowledge of AAE syntax and semantics to calculate an accurate score. This research was funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.


How Parents of Children in Early Intervention View Different Types of Simplified Language Input: A Survey Study

            Megan Nylund; Michigan State University
            Julia Andary; Michigan State University
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University

There is some disagreement regarding how adults should simplify their utterances when speaking to young children with language delays. One type of simplification that has come into question is telegraphic input, a style of speaking that involves removing grammatical aspects of phrases, such as function words and grammatical markers (e.g., All done snack, Cookie yummy). In the current study, we surveyed parents of children in early intervention about their views on different types of simplified language. Specifically, we asked: How do parents’ beliefs about telegraphic input relate to how comfortable they are producing different types of simplified utterances? Parents of children enrolled in early intervention completed a 20-minute online survey. Parents with a positive view of telegraphic input felt significantly less comfortable producing full, grammatical utterances than parents with a negative or neutral view of telegraphic input. These findings emphasize the importance of understanding parent perspectives in parent-mediated intervention approaches. Future studies are needed to determine how parents’ beliefs impact social validity and treatment fidelity of parent-mediated interventions.


Evaluating the Modified- Shortened Token Test as a working memory and language assessment tool

            Theresa Pham; University of Western Ontario
            Taylor Bardell; University of Western Ontario
            Meghan Vollebregt; University of Western Ontario
            Alyssa Kuiack; University of Western Ontario
            Lisa Archibald; University of Western Ontario

Working memory supports language processing in complex ways. This, in turn, highlights the need for a clinical assessment tool that will assist speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in understanding individual children’s performance in relation to working memory and language. The Shortened Token Test (STT) is a promising clinical tool given that its manipulation of length and syntactic complexity could tap working memory and language skills respectively. The factor structure of our Modified-STT was evaluated in Study 1, revealing a three-factor solution with factors corresponding to working memory, linguistic, and basic attention constructs. Study 2 examined correlations between composite scores based on the Modified-STT and standardized language measures. These relationships were more distinguished in younger than older children: the working memory composite correlated with all language measures, while tasks evaluating knowledge of grammatical rules and the ability to follow directions were additionally correlated with linguistic skills. Empirically demonstrating that the Modified-STT can be used to estimate the independent influence of working memory and language skills will be highly significant for clinical practice.

This research was supported by SSHRC PDG.


Measuring Syntactic Complexity and Lexical Diversity in School-Age Children’s Short Language Samples

            Jill Potratz; University of Oregon
            Christina Glidersleeve-Neumann; Portland State University
            Melissa Redford; University of Oregon

Rationale: This study examines whether mean length of utterance (MLU) is a sensitive measure of linguistic complexity in school-age children’s short language samples. We analyze whether both traditional and novel measures of syntactic complexity and lexical diversity provide important additional information, beyond MLU, about linguistic complexity.

Methods: Four language samples in two discourse contexts were elicited from 32 typically developing children in two age groups (5-year-olds and 8-year-olds). In addition to MLU, three measures of syntactic complexity and three measures of lexical diversity were calculated.

Results: Linear mixed-effects analyses revealed MLU varies systematically with both age and discourse context, as does number of different words. Other measures vary systematically only with age or discourse context. Some of these other measures were, however, strongly correlated with MLU.

Conclusions: Results demonstrate the surprising sensitivity of MLU in school-age children’s language samples compared to other measures of syntactic complexity or lexical diversity; however, the individual measures are necessary to fully understand what contributes to a child’s linguistic complexity. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) grant R01HD087452 (PI: Redford).


Brazilian Portuguese Version of the MacArthur-Bates Inventory of Communicative Development – Words and Sentences: Validity and Percentile Ranks for 24-month-old children

            Juliana Prieto Bruckner; Federal University of Minas Gerais
            Carolyn B. Mervis; University of Louisville
            Cláudia Cardoso-Martins; Federal University of Minas Gerais

We sought to determine the reliability and validity of the Brazilian Portuguese Version of the MacArthur-Bates Inventory of Communicative Development – Words and Sentences          (BRCDI-W&S) (Teixeira, 2000) in a sample of 24-month-old children; and to provide normative data for Brazilian 24-month-olds. Participants were 61 typically developing 24-month-olds (30 girls) from varying SES backgrounds. The BRCDI-W&S was filled out by the child’s primary caregiver. Thirty-nine of the children also were administered the Cognitive and Language scales of the Brazilian Version of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III. There was considerable variability among scores on the Vocabulary, Morphology, MLU, and Sentence Complexity sections of the BRCDI-W&S. Correlations among the scores on pairs of these sections ranged from .57 to .83 (all ps<.001). Individual differences in these indicators correlated more strongly with performance on the Bayley-III Language Scale (?s from .44 to .68) than on the Cognitive Scale (?s from .27 to .43), revealing acceptable levels of convergent validity and evidence of discriminant validity. Percentiles corresponding to scores on each of the sections of the BRCDI-W&S are reported.

Funding: FAPEMIG, Brazil.


Social difficulties in children with a language impairment: A comparative study of children with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and children with Developmental Language Disorder

            Iris Selten; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University
            Tessel Boerma; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University  
            Emma Everaert; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University
            Marieke Huls; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University      
            Ellen Gerrits; HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht,University Medical Center Utrecht
            Frank Wijnen; Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University
            Jacob Vorstman; Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto

Language impairment has serious consequences for a child’s development of social skills. Both children with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) and children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) present with language and social deficits. We examine whether these groups differ in their profile of social difficulties and its relation with language abilities. We used parent-report to measure social functioning of 3-7yo children with 22q11DS (n=44) or DLD (n=65) twice (1-year interval). Standardized language assessment took place at baseline. Only in the 22q11DS group, the group-average of three out of six social functioning domains was in the impaired range. However, individual scores representing global social functioning were in the impaired range for 60% of children with 22q11DS and 40% of children with DLD. We did not detect significant group differences. Receptive language skills were negatively correlated with three domains of social functioning, but only for children with 22q11DS. We will elaborate on within-group variability and between-group differences regarding the role of language in development of social difficulties. We discuss clinical and scientific implications. This research was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).


Functions of Signs Produced by School-Aged Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

            Aaron Shield; Miami University
            Emily Blackburn; Miami University
            Paige Gerenz; Miami University

There is a paucity of research on the effectiveness of manual interventions for the treatment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). The present study seeks to understand for which communicative functions hearing children with CAS use manual signs in their expressive language repertoires, and for which children the use of manual signs is most beneficial. 19 children (ages 3-11) enrolled in a sign-supported speech program for children with CAS took part into the study. Measures of expressive and receptive language were taken, and all manual signs produced during testing were coded for function. 15 children produced at least one sign, for a total of 335 signs. The majority of signs served a function of semantic redundancy with speech (60.6%), while 7.5% of signs contained additional semantic information, and 23.9% of signs were produced in the absence of intelligible speech, allowing for effective communication. Children who produced signs without intelligible speech had lower expressive language scores than the other children with CAS, suggesting that children with severe CAS but relatively intact receptive language are most likely to benefit from sign intervention.


Engage with Developmental Language Disorder: A new project to facilitate research into Developmental Language Disorder

            Michelle C St Clair; University of Bath
            Jenny L Gibson; University of Cambridge
            Lok Fung Jason Chan; University of Bath
            Vanessa Lloyd-Esenka; University of London
            Nicola Botting; University of London

Conducting research on DLD is hard, particularly for researchers unattached to Speech Language Therapy/Pathology services. The difficulty in conducting DLD research may contribute to the well-established fact that DLD research is underfunded (Bishop, 2010) and the condition under-researched, given its prevalence and impact (Bishop, 2010; McGregor, 2020). The Engage with Developmental Language Disorder (or E-DLD) project aims to help address the difficulties in recruiting individuals to take part in DLD research. E-DLD is an international database of individuals and families affected by DLD. E-DLD members are regularly informed about DLD research projects and given the opportunity to take part. Currently, 62 parents and two adults with DLD have signed up.  Average age of the children is 8.2 years, 87% are monolingual, 84% have siblings and 71% are from the UK.  Twelve countries are represented (including Wales, England and Scotland). The E-DLD initiative has advertised three research projects and has an integrated longitudinal study.  We encourage all DLD researchers and SLT/SLPs to help spread the word about the E-DLD project and to consider advertising their projects to E-DLD members.


An Empirically Based Typology of Spanish-English English Language Learners

            Pumpki L. Su; University of Delaware
            Aquiles Iglesias; University of Delaware

A large proportion of children entering school do not have sufficient English language skills to function adequately in English-only classrooms. These children, referred to as English Learners (ELs), are often assumed to be and treated as a linguistically homogeneous group despite an emerging body of literature that have alluded to systematic linguistic differences among ELs. This work aimed to develop an empirically derived typology of Spanish-English speaking ELs. We examined within-group variability in oral language skills in 865 Spanish-English ELs enrolled in Grades K-3 using latent profile analysis. Results indicated five distinct profiles of ELs.


Sentence repetition – a valid test of syntactic knowledge?  – the use of different scoring methods for gaining insight

            Rikke Vang Christensen; University of Copenhagen
            Jessie Leigh Nielsen; University of Copenhagen
            Mads Poulsen; University of Copenhagen

Sentence repetition (SR) tasks are widely used to assess syntactic knowledge in populations with and without language disorders. The present study investigated if the use of several scoring methods would provide insights into the validity of a researcher-created SR task as a measure of syntactic knowledge. 

103 grade 6 students (˜12 year olds) from ordinary Danish classrooms completed the task, which consisted of 30 reversible sentences. Items with canonical subject-verb-object (SVO) word order were included along with sentences with non-canonical word order, e.g. passives and object-verb-subject (OVS). Responses were scored for 1) accuracy, 2) preservation of syntactic structure and 3) change of syntactic construction to SVO.

Canonical constructions were repeated more accurately than the non-canonical constructions. However, whereas the syntax of the passives was largely preserved even in inaccurate sentences, OVS items were vulnerable to syntactic change to canonical SVO.

These differences reflect the dimensionality of the syntactic construct and thus indicate that the present SR task measures aspects of syntactic knowledge.

Funding Sources: Independent Research Fund Denmark and University of Copenhagen.