SRCLD 2023 Posters

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Poster Session #1


First- and second-person pronoun comprehension in autistic and nonautistic children

            Jonet Artis; New York University
            Rhiannon Luyster; Emerson College
            Lily Carroll; New York University
            Angela He; Hong Kong Baptist University
            Sudha Arunachalam; New York University

Autistic children are more likely than nonautistic children to produce personal pronoun errors. However, we know less about their comprehension of personal pronouns. This study examines their comprehension of personal pronouns within an experimental design. The children completed an activity focused on demonstrating comprehension of the first-person pronoun “my”, and second person pronoun “your”, both when it referred to the child and when it referred to someone else. Our findings indicate that both nonautistic and autistic children demonstrate an understanding of the first-person “my” pronoun and second-person “your” pronoun when it refers to the child.  Both groups struggled more with “your” when it did not refer to themselves; however, while nonautistic children still performed above chance in this condition, autistic children were at chance. Thus, this study parallels prior work, highlighting similarities between the two groups and suggesting that autistic children have all-around lower rates of success but not categorical differences in pronoun knowledge.
This study was funded by NIH R01 DC017131.


Nature of vocabulary change following Language and Literacy Together intervention

            Cecilia Perez; University of California, Irvine
            Prarthana Shivabasappa; New Mexico State University
            Alejandro Granados Vargas; University of California, Irvine
            Molly Leachman; University of California, Irvine
            Jiali Wang; University of California, Irvine
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California, Irvine

This study investigated the changes in the vocabulary use of Spanish-English bilingual first graders after a Spanish language intervention that focused on the connection between language and literacy. Ten participants were analyzed pre- and post-intervention, with three English and three Spanish narratives produced based on the Test of Narrative Language protocol. The data was analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA, evaluating core words, Tier 1, 2, and 3 words, cognates, and internal state terms as dependent variables. The results showed that the participants produced more unique core words, Tier 1 words, and cognates post-intervention, with a greater use of these word types in Spanish than in English. However, the total use of these forms did not increase. The participants also produced a greater variety of internal state terms post-intervention. These findings demonstrate the importance of conveying meaning in language interventions for bilingual children with risk for DLD as it can help leverage qualitative changes in their vocabulary use during and after the intervention.
Funding Information: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (1R21DC011126-01)


Examining the Complex Syntax of Second-Grade Teachers

            Mary Kate Buchheit; Vanderbilt University
            C. Melanie Schuele; Vanderbilt University

The purpose of this study was to describe the complex syntax in second-grade teachers’ instructional input and explore the relations between complex syntax input and (1) teacher academic vocabulary, (2) classroom socioeconomic status (SES), and (3) instructional subject. Fifteen teachers’ transcripts were selected from Wanzek et al. (2021)’s extant database which included multiple 15-minute language samples per teacher across the school year and subject areas. Instances of complex syntax were identified and coded for type (Schuele, 2009). Teachers had similar proportion and density of complex syntax in English language arts (ELA) and math. The mean proportion of utterances that included complex syntax was 0.27. Neither teacher academic vocabulary nor classroom SES correlated with teachers’ complex syntax proportion and density. Teachers had a higher proportion of infinitival clauses in math compared to ELA. There were no differences in complex syntax variables between fall and spring. The results provide a picture of teachers' complex syntax input that may be important to children’s language development in early elementary school, particularly for children with linguistic vulnerabilities.
Funding: the Institute of Education Sciences, (R305A170203).


Parent Training using EMBRACE Intelligent Tutoring System to Teach Question-Asking during Shared Book Reading in Latino Families

            Sindhu Chennupati; Arizona State University
            M. Adelaida Restrepo; University of South Florida
            Arthur Glenberg; Arizona State University
            Erin Walker; University of Pittsburgh
            Christopher Blais; Arizona State University
            Ligia Gómez Franco; Ball State University

Purpose: The Parent - Enhanced Moved by Reading to Accelerate Comprehension in English (Parent EMBRACE) program was developed to offer a bilingual parent-training literacy intervention for Latino families. The goals were to 1) examine the effectiveness of the EMBRACE system at teaching parents to improve the quantity and quality of their question-asking and 2) examine how parental interactions predict children’s reading attitude. 

Methods: Twenty-one participants were randomized into two groups: a control group (n=13) and a parent-training group (n=8).  Shared reading behaviors were analyzed using video-recorded reading sessions. Group differences were explored using analyses of covariance. Reading attitude was measured using the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS).  The relationship between parent interactions and reading attitudes was explored through regression. 

Results: Results indicate parents in the experimental group asked more questions to their children and asked a greater variety of questions. Children demonstrated a nonlinear relationship with reading attitude, increasing positive attitude to a threshold of about 10 parent interactions, and then decreasing.

Conclusion: Overall, the Parent-EMBRACE tool demonstrates promise as a culturally responsive literacy intervention for Latino children.

NSF grant (Award: 1917636)


Bilingualism, Language Ability, and Variability Effects in Children’s Word-Learning

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

Research has shown that children can discover relationships between words and meanings in ambiguous scenarios by aggregating co-occurring statistics over time – a process termed cross-situational word learning (CSWL). In the present study, we examined whether length of bilingual experience and language ability would contribute to CSWL performance under low and high variability conditions in a group of Spanish-English bilingual school-aged children. Results revealed graded effects of bilingualism and language ability on CSWL performance under conditions of increased variability. In a high variability condition, word-learning performance significantly increased as children’s length of bilingual experience and language skills increased. Input variability did not influence word-learning performance for children with greater levels of bilingual experience. However, for children with higher levels of language ability, input variability improved word-learning performance. Together, these results suggest that variation in the learner and variation in the input interact and modulate lexical learning in children.
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 DC016015, U54 HD090256 and F31 DC019025.


Working Towards Consistent Terminology in Preschool Speech-Language Pathology

            Alison Csercsics; The University of Western Ontario
            Lisa Archibald; The University of Western Ontario
            BJ Cunningham; The University of Western Ontario

 This quality improvement project used a web-based knowledge translation intervention to address the inconsistent use of clinical terminology in one large preschool speech-language pathology program. Barriers and facilitators to the consistent use of clinical labels were identified using the Diffusion of Innovations Theory, and this knowledge was used to develop components of the web-based intervention. More than 500 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) reviewed a 1-hour webinar, participated in live question and answer sessions, and received resources to support practice change. Managers were engaged in virtual meetings and served as practice change leaders. Changes in SLPs’ understanding and use of clinical labels was evaluated using surveys that were administered pre-training, immediately post-training, and following a 3-month pilot period. This research is currently in progress, and analyses are ongoing. Results will be available in April 2023. Results are expected to inform future research and support ongoing initiatives to establish consistent use of clinical labels in the field. Funding for this work was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services


Parental self-efficacy in relation to parents' history of language-based learning difficulties and children's shared reading exposure

            Kelsey Davison; Boston University
            Alyssa Boucher; Boston University
            Jennifer Zuk; Boston University

 Reduced shared reading has been documented in many families of parent(s) with language-based learning disabilities (LBLD), yet it remains unknown whether parental history of LBLD is associated with parental self-efficacy in language/literacy-related parenting tasks. This study examined whether parental self-efficacy is associated with parental LBLD history and children’s shared reading exposure. 124 parents of preschoolers completed the Adult Reading History Questionnaire as a proxy for LBLD history, as well as demographic, self-efficacy, and shared reading measures in a one-time survey. We observed a negative association between parental LBLD history and self-efficacy (i.e., LBLD linked with lower self-efficacy), and positive associations between self-efficacy and shared reading. Although reduced self-efficacy ratings were reported among parents with versus without a history of LBLD, subgroup analyses revealed that associations between self-efficacy and shared reading were driven by parents without a history of LBLD. Findings are the first to link LBLD history with parental self-efficacy, but further suggest potential resiliency among some parents with LBLD history in enriching shared reading interactions despite reduced self-efficacy overall. This work is supported by Boston University.


Defining Language Disorders in Public Schools

            Tim DeLuca; MGH IHP
            Katharine Radville; MGH IHP
            Danika Pfeiffer; Towson University
            Tiffany Hogan; MGH IHP

 Interprofessional practice requires regular communication between professionals from different disciplines using shared terminology. Within schools, many professionals are tasked with addressing the needs of children with DLD and/or dyslexia. Currently, we have limited information as to (1) how different school-based professionals define language-based disorders, (2) how those clinical definitions align with research definitions, and (3) how one’s definition of a language-based disorder correlates with one’s knowledge of best practices. In the present mixed-methods study, we analyzed 286 definitions of language disorder provided by school-based professionals on the Interprofessional Collaboration in Education (ICEd) survey using a summative content analysis process. We also conducted a correlation analysis to explore the relationship between definitions of language disorders and knowledge of best practices. The present work has implications for generating shared terminology between professional groups and researchers to improve collaborative practices and to narrow the research to practice gap.


Constructing the Language and Working Memory Token Test

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

 Working memory and linguistic knowledge support language performance in different ways. To understand the relationship between working memory and linguistic knowledge, we need an assessment tool that is sensitive to either working memory or linguistic knowledge effects on language performance. To address this issue, we modified the Token Test. The Token Test involves increasingly long commands to point to shapes of different sizes and colours or follow more linguistically complex commands. It was originally used to assess comprehension. In this study, created items were designed to systematically impose a load on working memory, and linguistic knowledge, respectively. In the linguistic section, eight levels of linguistic structures were designed based on the number of words, clauses, syntactic variation, sentence function, and developmental level. In the working memory section, seven corresponding levels of sentence length manipulations were built. Items were composed based on the age of acquisition, word frequency and concreteness, and presented a semantic variation to some extent. The Language and Working Memory Token Test has the potential to differentiate between language performance supported by working memory vs. language knowledge.


Functional and structural neural abnormalities in children with developmental language disorders

            Jordanna A. Kruse; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Nichole M. Eden; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Karla K. McGregor; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Gaelle Doucet; Boys Town National Research Hospital

Developmental language disorder (DLD) affects the acquisition and use of language, and its underlying neural mechanisms are still largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate functional and structural brain mechanisms and their associations with narrative language ability in children ages 7-12 with and without DLD. To do so, we recruited 41 participants (21 Typically Developing (TD): mean(SD) age=9.35(1.71) years, 11 males; 20 DLD: age=9.59(1.58) years, 11 males). Participants completed the Test of Narrative Language to measure narrative language skills as well as structural and resting-state Magnetic Resonance Imaging sequences. Structurally, DLD participants showed more grey matter in lateral and medial frontal regions than TD. In contrast, at the functional level, DLD participants had lower resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) than TD from the left middle frontal gyrus to bilateral parietal regions. The present findings provide evidence for structural and functional abnormalities largely in the frontal cortex in children with DLD, particularly reduction in RSFC despite higher grey matter volume compared to TD. This project was partially funded by NIGMS (P20GM144641), NIDCD (2R01DC011742-06) and BTNRH pilot funds.


Evaluating Type of Social Communication Assessment and Autistic Children’s Irritability

            Hannah Fipp-Rosenfield; Northwestern University
            Rachel Levy; Northwestern University
            Megan Roberts; Northwestern University

Increased irritability is associated with lower social communication skills in autistic children. Many norm-referenced assessments use probes to elicit children’s social communication. However, challenging probes may frustrate children and inadvertently elicit irritability. We examined whether a) social communication assessment type (norm-referenced vs. naturalistic) impacted autistic children’s irritability, and b) irritability was associated with social communication scores. Autistic children (n=114) completed the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS; norm-referenced) and a caregiver-child interaction (CCX; naturalistic). Child irritability was scored on both assessments. Child irritability during the CSBS was significantly higher than during the CCX (V= 4892, p < 0.001, r = 0.68). Higher irritability was associated with lower CSBS social communication scores (B= -0.05, p=0.02), but not CCX scores (B= 0.02, p=0.42; Theil’s F=4.37, p=0.04). Our findings suggest that the CSBS may exacerbate irritability, negatively affecting social communication scores. Evaluating the associations between assessment type and irritability considers autistic children’s lived experiences during assessments and can support clinicians in obtaining a more representative measure of social communication.

 This study was funded by the National Institute of Health (R01DC014709, NCT02632773).


Language Acquisition in Multilingual Arabic-English Speaking Families:  Differences in Parent Input

            Samantha Ghali; University of Kansas
            Mabel Rice; University of Kansas

 Little is known about the language acquisition trajectories of multilingual families who speak various dialects (i.e., variants; Khamis Dakwar, Froud, & Gordon, 2012). The aim of this study was to investigate the role of parent-caregiver input in multilingual language contexts, with items specific to Arabic morphology (Pew Research Center, 2016; Versteegh, 2014). Arabic serves as an excellent test case for language acquisition research because children are raised proficient in at least one spoken variant and upon entry to formal education, must learn a mutually unintelligible variant--Modern Standard Arabic (Eviatar & Ibrahim, 2014; Ryding, 1991; Saiegh-Haddad, 2003). A parent-caregiver questionnaire was developed specific to language acquisition in multilingual Arabic-English speaking families in the Midwest. Preliminary analyses using descriptive and inferential statistics revealed significant differences between mothers’ and fathers’ ratings pertaining to their children's language acquisition trajectories.


The Production of Inflectional Morphology by Turkish-Speaking Children with DLD and Their Typically Developing Peers: The Role of Morphophonology

            Selçuk Güven; University of Montreal

Purpose: In this study, we examined the verb and noun morphology system of Turkish-speaking preschoolers with developmental language disorder (DLD) and compared their use to that of two groups of typically developing (TD) children.

Method: We report data from a total of 80 monolingual children -- 40 children with DLD, 20 typically developing age-matched children and 20 younger MLU-matched children.  Language samples obtained from the children served as the source of the data. 

Results: The children with DLD were less accurate in their use of verb and noun suffixes than both the younger and the age-matched TD children. The most frequent error types included use of bare stems and omission of the suffix. Irregular morphophonology was the best predictor of the children’s level of accuracy. 

 Conclusion: These results suggest that even when a language appears to provide significant learning advantages for inflectional morphology, DLD children do not succeed in closing the gap. The complex interplay of morphology and phonology in Turkish appears to be the major obstacle for children with DLD acquiring this agglutinative language.


Investigating the Feasibility of the See and Say Sequence

            Emily Harrington; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
            Pamela Hadley; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

 The current study evaluated the feasibility of a brief caregiver-implemented intervention called the See and Say Sequence. Fourteen caregivers with toddlers aged 15-24 months participated in the intervention—a single session ranging in length from 16-26 minutes. Caregivers were taught to use responsive labeling and responsive toy talk in back-and-forth interactions with their toddlers. Caregivers used the See and Say Sequence significantly more following intervention (t(13)=5.25, p<.001). As a result, caregivers significantly increased responsive utterances containing single word nouns (t(13)=9.28, p<.001) and nouns as sentence subjects (t(13)=7.54, p<.001) during a play interaction with their toddler. Caregivers also decreased their total number of utterances, specifically utterances that were not responsive and did not contain linguistic targets. This resulted in substantial changes in the composition of caregiver utterances. The findings indicate that the See and Say Sequence is a feasible approach for altering caregiver input in a brief amount of time and support future evaluation of the See and Say Sequence as a low-intensity option for early intervention service delivery. Support: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Graduate College


Audiovisual Speech, but not Talker Variability, Supports Word Learning in Noise in Adults

            Jasenia Hartman; Duke University
            Jenny Saffran; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Ruth Litovsky; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Word learning requires learners to form robust representations of how a word sounds. Most learning environments are noisy which imposes a challenge for listeners to perceive the sounds within the words. In quiet, both talker variability and audiovisual speech have been shown, separately, to help learners form well-defined lexical categories. However, less is known of whether these benefits extend to a noisy situation or whether they work synergistically. This study sought to examine the combined effects of talker variability and audiovisual speech on word learning in noise.

48 adults learned 8 novel word-objects with a two-talker babble noise. Participants were randomly assigned to either the single-talker or multiple-talker condition. Half of the words were presented acoustically, whereas the other half were presented audiovisually. Novel word learning was then probed in quiet with a novel talker using a two-alternative forced-choice task.

Results reveal that audiovisual speech significantly improves word learning in noise for adults, particularly in the presence of talker variability. This finding provides insight into how listeners form word representations in noisy settings.

Funding: Diversity Supplement Award (parent grant:5R01DC016839)


Does a child’s dialect affect teachers’ ratings of language and literacy skills?

            Alison Hendricks; University at Buffalo
            Franchesca Arecy; University at Buffalo

Developmental language disorder (DLD) affects 7-9% of children and yet many school-age children with DLD are not identified. Accurate identification of DLD is particularly problematic among students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds both due to linguistic biases on many standardized language measures and biases within society more generally which may make referrals for language evaluation less reliable. Previous studies, which relied on teacher perceptions of dialect use, suggested that teachers rate language and literacy skills lower for students who they think speak African American English. In this study, 41 teachers provided ratings of student language and literacy skills for 96 school-age students and students completed standardized measures of dialect use and language ability. Results showed that while teacher ratings were lower for students with DLD, they were also lower for students based on the students’ dialect. This suggests that teacher ratings should be interpreted with caution, and teachers may require additional training in linguistic diversity. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to teacher assessments of student language and literacy ability.


Perspectives of Speech-Language Pathologists on Assessing English Learners' Language Performance

            Michelle Hernandez; University of Houston
            Katrina Fulcher-Rood; SUNY Buffalo State
            Anny Castilla-Earls; University of Houston

Purpose:?The purpose of this study was to investigate the assessment practices used by school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working with bilingual children.?

Method: Structured open phone interviews were conducted with twenty-four school-based SLPs employed across the United States. The participants were asked questions regarding the assessment tools they used to examine the language performance of bilingual students, their rationale for choosing those assessment tools, and how they determined if a bilingual student qualified for school-based speech-language services.?

Results:?Results show that SLPs used a combination of formal and informal measures to make diagnostic decisions regarding bilingual students. The SLPs reported using standardized assessments due to district regulations and informal measures, including parent interviews/surveys, observations, and language sampling to determine the child’s functional communication skills. In addition, SLPs discussed concerns related to using standardized testing when assessing bilingual students.

Conclusions:?Bilingual SLPs reported using varied informal measures to make diagnostic decisions when working with bilingual children. This is in contrast to the practices reported by monolingual SPLs who tend to rely on standardized testing when working with monolingual children.


Recruitment procedures and results across two clinical trials for children with developmental language disorder

            Lindsey Hiebert; University of Delaware
            Samantha Weatherford; University of Delaware
            Amanda Owen Van Horne; University of Delaware

Participant recruitment is difficult for any clinical trial, but this difficulty is increased when the disorder has limited public awareness, as with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). This study followed recruitment procedures for two virtual randomized controlled trials involving children with DLD over one year. Multiple recruitment methods were used. The paid recruitment agency yielded the highest count of contacts (N = 1137) and consented participants (N = 215) however, only 67 qualified with DLD. The most accurate referrals came from SLPs, but these were rare (31 contacts, 11 qualified). Caregivers described their children as having difficulty with language, speech sounds, literacy, fluency, and pragmatics. Most of these concerns did not show a relationship between a diagnosis of DLD and the terms used, although children with literacy concerns were least likely to qualify. This indicates that caregivers are not able to accurately identify DLD in their child further hampering recruitment efforts. Common language and public awareness of DLD would enhance the success of participant recruitment for federally funded trials. 

Funding sources: NSF/ECR1661166 (McGregor PI); NIH/R01DC018276 (Owen Van Horne PI)


After is easier: How linguistic timing impacts verb learning in preschoolers with DLD

            Sabrina Horvath; Medical University of South Carolina

Abstract: Subtle changes to the learning environment can have a significant impact on toddlers’ success (or failure) in learning novel verbs. This study considers whether the sequencing of a verb and its referent action impacts verb-learning for toddlers with developmental language disorder (DLD). Eight preschoolers (M = 5.08 years) were introduced to pairs of novel verbs in eight trials (e.g., “The girl can ziff the box;” “The boy can lorp the shoe,”). In half of trials, the verb was introduced before the referent action was displayed, and in the other half of trials the verb was introduced after the referent action had been viewed. Children were first asked to recall each action by pointing; then, they were asked to generalize the novel verbs to a new agents. Results indicate that children were more successful when the linguistic label came after its referent action, irrespective of the type of meaning encoded by the verb. Funding: T32DC000030.


Early Intervention Speech-Language Pathologists' Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices Surrounding Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Assessment Practices for Dual Language Learners

            Rebecca Jarzynski; Northern Illinois University; University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
            Milijana Buac; Northern Illinois University

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), including those who work in early intervention (EI), consistently report feeling underprepared to assess dual language learners (DLLs). Further, gaps between SLP beliefs and actual practices related to assessing DLLs have been found in pediatric settings such as outpatient clinics and schools. However, the state of EI SLPs’ beliefs, knowledge, and practices related to DLLs referred to early intervention programs is not known. Survey methodology was utilized to gather information related to EI SLPs beliefs, knowledge, practices and EI SLPs backgrounds and current practice settings. Participants were provided with a case scenario of a DLL referred to EI and asked to outline their assessment procedures. Responses were coded based on 7 a-priori best practice guidelines. Participants included 134 EI SLPs. Participants reported strong agreement for each of seven best practices for assessing DLLs, but gaps between these beliefs and actual practices emerged. Results also revealed gaps in knowledge related to assessing DLL toddlers and relationships between EI SLP backgrounds and practice settings and knowledge and practices. Funding was provided by Northern Illinois University’s Heath Sciences Research Award


Parent-implemented communication intervention (PICT) for deaf/hard of hearing (DHH) toddlers: A randomized control trial

            Maranda Jones; Northwestern University
            Aaron Kaat; Northwestern University
            Megan Roberts; Northwestern University

 Rationale: Despite the fact that deaf/hard of hearing (DHH) children are making greater gains in communication and language outcomes than ever before, variability in long-term language outcomes for DHH children remains. In order to maximize language outcomes, it is essential to develop and evaluate effective early interventions for DHH toddlers. Methods: The current project is the first large-scale randomized control trial of a parent-implemented communication intervention (PICT) designed for DHH toddlers (between 12 and 18 months). We plan to evaluate the effect of the intervention on parent use of communication support strategies and child communication outcomes. Further, we will explore mediators of intervention effects on child communication outcomes. Results: Results of the current trial are forthcoming. Conclusions: The forthcoming results are expected to have significant implications on the understanding of early interventions for DHH toddlers, an area where there is currently a striking paucity of research. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01DC016877).


Poor comprehender or DLD?: Identification and intervention for children with comprehension difficulties

            Katrina Kelso; University of Western Ontario
            Anne Whitworth; University of Tasmania
            Suze Leitão; Curtin University

Comprehension is the fundamental goal of reading, yet comprehension problems are often hidden and go undetected in school age children, even in some who could be considered to meet the criteria for DLD. The purpose of this research was to identify poor comprehenders and profile their oral and written language and cognitive skills to guide the provision of targeted intervention. A vocabulary and higher-level language intervention were piloted to explore their effectiveness in improving the targeted skills and generalization to improvement on tests of reading comprehension. Unexpectedly, only two of the 17 participants who completed the detailed profiling were found to have difficulty with lower-level comprehension tasks (vocabulary and grammar), while the remaining 15 had difficulty only with higher-level language tasks. On the interventions developed, gains were made on tasks that assessed skills targeted in the intervention, with some generalization to improvement on a standardized reading comprehension measure, albeit limited. The findings provide promising preliminary evidence that targeted intervention can be effective in improving both listening and reading comprehension.

This research was completed on a PhD scholarship.


Communicative Participation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations for Multilingual Jamaican Preschoolers

            Leslie Kokotek; University of Cincinnati
            Karla Washington; University of Toronto; University of Cincinnati; New York University

The Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS) is a valuable tool for understanding children’s communicative participation (CP) and has been shown to have good psychometric properties for use with a broad range of multilingual Jamaican preschoolers. However, despite the applicability of the FOCUS, there was limited information available about the CP of multilingual children, especially those who speak an understudied language pair, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. This paucity of information is one of the multifaceted reasons why multilingual children are at an increased risk for misdiagnosis. The pandemic, which disrupted traditional forms of communication and interaction, further complicated this issue leading to a greater need for innovative approaches for understanding children’s CP in daily activities prior to and during the pandemic. This study offers additional insights for characterizing communicative participation for children with and without communication impairments during the pandemic. Interestingly, results indicate that the pandemic may not have had a negative impact on the overall CP of Jamaican children with communication impairments, underscoring the need to better understand important resiliency factors within the Jamaican community.


The role of social skills in improving respeto for Latine autistic children

            Siddhi Patel; University of Texas at Dallas
            Erin Kosloski; University of Texas at Dallas
            Kaitlyn Kidd; University of Texas at Dallas
            Cristina Rangel-Uribe; University of Texas at Dallas
            Pamela Rollins; University of Texas at Dallas

 Respeto is an important cultural value that greatly influences parenting practices in the Latine community. Latine parents guide their children with calm, kind authority, and children in turn respond with affiliative obedience (CAO). Affiliative obedience requires social understanding, which is challenging for autistic children; thus, Latine autistic children may struggle to respond to their parents with CAO. Twenty-four Latine autistic children and their parents were randomly assigned to receive Pathways Intervention or Services as Usual (SAU). Standardized assessments and parent-child interaction videos were conducted at baseline and post intervention. Results revealed that (a) children’s social skills related to CAO at baseline, and (b) children in Pathways had higher CAO post-intervention compared to their SAU counterparts. These findings highlight the importance of culturally sensitive social interventions like Pathways, as they improve social understanding in autistic children and thereby support Latine parents in instilling respeto in their autistic children. This research was supported by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Autism Grants Program (Grants # 20476 and 22974). The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the opinions of the THECB.


Validation of the Mediated Learning Observation Instrument Among Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder in Dynamic Assessment

            Joseph Hin Yan Lam; School of Education, University of California Irvine
            Maria Resendiz; Department of Communication Disorders, College of Health Professions, Texas State University
            Lisa Bedore; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Temple University
            Ron Gillam; Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University
            Elizabeth Peña; School of Education, University of California Irvine

Previous research shows that mediated learning observation (MLO) significantly predicts language ability. However, validation work is needed to investigate the internal structure and consistency. The study examined the factor structure, validity, and reliability of the MLO instrument in dynamic language assessment in children. Participants were 224 children (40 first and second-grade English-speaking children and 184 Spanish-English bilingual kindergarteners; 188 typically developing children and 36 children with developmental language disorder [DLD]) completed a 30-minute individual mediated learning session on narrative production. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and reliability analysis were conducted to establish the factor structure, reliability and discriminant validity. A three-factor model was suggested across kindergarten and school-age samples, across both typically developing and DLD subgroups. The final MLO comprises three subscales: (1) cognitive factor (5 items), (2) learning anticipation (3 items), and (3) learning engagement (3 items). The validated and reliable MLO can provide additional information to dynamic assessment of language and help clinicians to design individualized intervention approaches based on the ratings.

 Funding: R01DC007439 (Peña)


Syntactic Growth in Adolescent Boys with Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome: A Longitudinal Study

            Jamie Linert; University of Minnesota
            Lizbeth Finestack; University of Minnesota
            Leonard Abbeduto; University of California-Davis

Despite literature documenting the language profiles of fragile X syndrome (FXS) and Down syndrome (DS), little is known about how language ability in these syndromes changes with age. This is especially true for the adolescent years. The current study addresses this gap by investigating language change in adolescents (aged 10-16 years) with FXS or DS over the course of four years. We document change in syntactic abilities using standardized language assessments and mean length of utterance from language samples. We used linear mixed effects regression models to compare growth patterns between groups. The results have implications for identifying effective assessment and treatment approaches to continue to improve communication skills in young people with FXS or DS.

This research was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grants: R01HD024356, P50HD103526).


Examining family language practices and attitudes towards code-switching among Spanish-speaking parents of children with and without disabilities

            Ada Lopez Gonzalez; University of Massachusetts-Amherst
            Megan Gross; University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Considering families' experiences, beliefs, and other factors influencing their language practices is crucial to shaping individualized recommendations for supporting children’s communication and guiding future research. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed to answer the following research questions: (1) What are parents’ perspectives on code-switching (CS)? (2) Do parents’ CS practices differ depending on their regional background and the disability status of their children? Semi-structured interviews were conducted using open-ended questions to understand parents’ lived experiences with CS. Quantitative data from a questionnaire and a language exposure interview were used to address research question 2. Preliminary results from the qualitative interviews with parents of children with disabilities showed that parents from the Caribbean tended to use more CS themselves and have a more accepting attitude towards CS than parents from Central America. Preliminary questionnaire data showed inconsistent patterns across the regional backgrounds and diagnostic groups in how parents respond to CS from their children. These results underscore the importance of taking time to understand families’ practices to provide individualized recommendations. [Funding: Ph.D. Fellowship, Public Service Endowment Grant, faculty start-up funds]


Autistic and non-autistic children differentially affected by disruptions in verbal probabilistic input

            Janine Mathee-Scott; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Kathryn Prescott; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Ron Pomper; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Jenny Saffran; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Susan Ellis Weismer; University of Wisconsin-Madison

 Recent theoretical accounts suggest that differences in the processing of probabilistic events underlie differences in the core and associated traits of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These accounts hypothesize that autistic individuals are differentially impacted by disruptions in probabilistic input, known as hyperplasticity of learning, characterized by an overweighting of novel predictive relationships above cumulative input. Differences in prediction have primarily been examined in nonverbal, visual contexts. The present study examined autistic and neurotypical (NT) children’s ability to generate predictions based on verbal cues and adjust to changes in predictive relationships in an eyegaze paradigm. Children were trained and tested on an indexical auditory-visual cue wherein speaker gender predicted the location of a reward. After 12 trials, the cue-reward contingency switched. Findings indicate that autistic children predicted reward locations more accurately than cognitively matched NT peers and demonstrated anticipation both pre- and post-contingency switch (e.g., demonstrated hyperplasticity), whereas NT children were disrupted by the change in contingency. This work was supported by: NIDCD R01 DC017974 (MPIs: Ellis Weismer & Saffran) and NIDCD F31 DC020902 (PI: Mathée-Scott).


Comparative Study of Preschool Children’s Engagement in Parent-Child Conversations: Reminiscing and Co-Construction of a Story Outshine Shared Book Reading

            Trelani Milburn-Chapman; University of Alberta

We compared the linguistic quality of parent-child conversations during three contexts of interaction: shared book reading, reminiscing a shared past event, and co-constructing a story known to both. Examiners met with 72 parent-child dyads (Mean child age = 52.94, SD=3.75; females=42) on two consecutive days. Day 1: they read a fictional story together and engaged in reminiscing about a shared celebration. Day 2: they worked together to retell and talk about the story they read the previous day. Findings indicated that parents showed greater agency than the children during the shared book reading but the children showed significantly higher engagement and use of richer language during the other two contexts. The children used significantly greater elaboration, lexical diversity, subordination (embedded clauses), and use of specified vocabulary during reminiscing and story co-construction compared to shared book reading. These findings have implications for speech-language pathologists to promote additional forms of parent-child conversation.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


Is there a Relationship Between Cognitive & Linguistic Abilities and the Variation in Language? The case of Subject Pronoun Expression in Spanish-speaking Children

            Pedro Antonio Ortiz Ramírez; The Ohio State University
            John Grinstead; The Ohio State University
            Michelle Zúñiga Espinosa; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

The present work analyzes the relationship between variation in language and cognitive & linguistic abilities. Specifically, the expression of overt Subject Personal Pronouns (SPP) in children’s Spanish. Previous work found that while adults tend to produce overt SPP in switch-reference contexts, young infants prefer null SPP instead in those exact same contexts which has been speculated to be due to their low Working Memory Capacity (WMC).

To test what cognitive and linguistic abilities predict SPP usage, 82 typically-developing, monolingual Spanish-speaking children completed nine linguistic & cognitive assessments. Two main analysis were carried out: a mixed effects logistic regression to corroborate previous findings from the literature, and a Pearson correlation to test whether cognitive & linguistic abilities predict SPP expression.

Results indicate that even though WMC did not play a role in SPP expression in switch-reference contexts, there was a correlation between 3rd person singular and a child’s inhibition and syntactic abilities. I speculate the implications of non-linguistic cognition, morphosyntax and the constraints predicting SPP expression as a possible route related to the children’s capacity to take other people into account.


Varying Syntax to Enhance Verb-Focused Intervention for 30-Month-Olds with Language Delay: A Concurrent Multiple Baseline Design

            Katrina Nicholas; California State University, East Bay
            Tobie Grierson; California State University, East Bay
            Priscilla Helen; California State University, East Bay
            Chelsea Miller; California State University, East Bay
            Amanda Owen Van Horne; University of Delaware

Rationale: We  sought to determine if children with language delay (LD) would learn verbs (spill) when presented with varying argument structure ("The woman is spilling the milk/The milk is spilling"; milk = patient or theme). Typically-developing children learn verbs more robustly when presented with alternating arguments (Scott & Fisher, 2009) than with a single argument structure. Children with LD learn language treatment targets better with greater input variability (Alt et al., 2020) and children with developmental language delay (DLD) learn better with complexity (Owen Van Horne et al., 2017).

Methods: Three toddlers with expressive LD (30-32 months) participated in a verb-focused intervention using a concurrent multiple baseline design. Participants were shown action videos accompanied by sentences with varied argument structure for each target verb. To assess learning pre- and post-treatment, participants were asked to demonstrate actions corresponding to each verb.

Results: Visual inspection and Tau analyses reveal significant post-treatment gains of target verbs.

Conclusion: Syntactic variability of treatment targets facilitates verb-learning for toddlers with language delay.

 Funding Source: ASHA Advancing Academic-Research Career (AARC) Award to first and last author


Dimensionality of Oral Language in Bilingual 6th Grade Children

            M. Adelaida Restrepo; University of South Florida
            Kristie Calvin; East Tennessee State University
            Marilyn Thompson; Arizona State University
            Shelley Gray; Arizona State University
            Kate Cain; Lancaster University
            Mindy Bridges; University of Kansas Medical Center
            Rob Davies; Lancaster University
            Jinxiang Hu; University of Kansas Medical Center
            Margeaux Ciraolo; Arizona State University

We examined the dimensionality of oral language in Spanish-English bilingual 6th-grade children. Research indicates that oral language in bilingual children is multidimensional (LARRC, 2015). However, dimensionality may differ by age and the measures used. Few studies have included pragmatic skills or studied the structure of oral language in Spanish-English bilingual adolescents. We conduct confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) on a sample of 95 bilingual 6th-grade children to test oral language models with one to four (grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and pragmatics) underlying factors, as well as bifactor and hierarchical models that include a general factor. In addition, we test two models with language-specific factors. Model parameters and appropriate fit statistics, including chi-square difference tests for nested models, are presented to aid in judging the adequacy of alternative models. The study is preregistered, and the data are collected and cleaned.


Receptive Vocabulary Development in Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder

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

Much has been investigated about bilingual vocabulary development, yet little is known about vocabulary trajectories in bilingual children with developmental language disorder (DLD). This study examined receptive vocabulary trajectories of Spanish and English at 3 time points over 2 years in 100 Spanish-English bilingual school-age children with and without DLD and the impact of maternal education and language(s) spoken at home on these trajectories. We used multilevel modeling to examine growth curves of standard scores in receptive vocabulary and the home environment factors that predicted their growth. Results reveal that Spanish receptive vocabulary scores remained stable while English scores increased rapidly during this period. Children with DLD performed significantly lower than typical peers in both languages. Speaking English and Spanish at home significantly negatively impacted Spanish receptive vocabulary but not English. In contrast, higher maternal education significantly predicted English scores but not Spanish scores. Results from this study provide evidence of vocabulary growth in bilingual children and the differential impact of home environmental factors on the child’s languages.

This research study was supported by NIH K23DC015835 awarded to Anny Castilla-Earls.


The type and complexity of recodes in parent–child interactions in children with Down syndrome

            Claudia Schabes; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center
            Marianne Elmquist; Waisman Center
            Alyssa Ewell; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center
            Emily Lorang; Michigan State University
            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center

Recodes, which occur when an adult linguistically translates the child’s previous communicative bid, can be used to support language learning in young children with Down syndrome (DS). Despite being a commonly taught strategy in parent coaching models, little is known about how recodes are employed in naturalistic environments by mothers and fathers of children with DS. We examined the type, complexity, and duration of recodes. Type encapsulated children’s mode of communication that prompted the recode, while complexity captured the grammatical and semantic information delivered. The length of parent’s and child’s utterances were recorded for duration. Fifteen 2–5 year old children with DS participated in separate free play sessions with their mothers and fathers in their homes. The recordings were coded using ProcoderDV™. To compare mothers’ and fathers’ recodes, we used effect sizes (Hedges g) and confidence intervals. We will discuss the findings’ implications on recode use and the broader context of parent coaching families with DS.

Funding: P30HD03352 (Chang), T32 DC005359, P50HD105353, a Vilas Life Cycle Award, and start-up funds from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Processing load and verb learning in an online study with autistic and  non-autistic preschoolers

            Vishakha Shukla; NYU
            Rhiannon Luyster; Emerson College
            Sudha Arunachalam; NYU

Linguistic contexts play an important role in learning novel words. In this study we investigated how autistic and non-autistic preschoolers learn novel verbs when presented with unmodified nouns (‘the ball is kradding’) vs. modified nouns (‘the round ball is kradding’). Previous work has shown that non-autistic children learn novel verbs more easily with unmodified nouns than with modified nouns. We aimed to (a) replicate this finding in a videoconferencing setup and (b) investigate whether autistic children showed a similar pattern. Children saw novel actions and heard novel verb labels in either unmodified or modified noun contexts. They were tested on the novel verb meanings and their eye gaze was taken as an indicator of learning. Preliminary analyses revealed that non-autistic children preferred the target in the unmodified condition compared to the modified condition, but for the autistic group, vocabulary size played a role. Thus, we replicated existing findings for non-autistic children and found a similar but complex pattern for autistic children, with a role for their language level.

Funding: NIH R01DC016592


Measuring Inhibitory Control and Reading Comprehension in  School-Age Urban African American Children

            Carla Stanford; University of California Irvine
            Katherine Rhodes; University of California Irvine
            Julie Washington; University of California Irvine

Measuring Inhibitory Control and Reading Comprehension in

School-age African American Children

Carla B. Stanford, Katherine T. Rhodes,  & Julie A. Washington

Rationale: Executive Function(EF) skills are processes that regulate thoughts and actions and are linked to skilled reading. For African American(AA) children who speak African American English (AAE), learning General American English(GAE) to decode may interfere with reading growth. EF’s role in skilled reading for these children is unclear and understudied. Specifically, the role of inhibitory control, which is selecting the desired response over the natural response, is unknown. This study examines the relationship between reading comprehension and inhibitory control in AA children who speak AAE.

Methods: 142 AA children in second through fifth grades were administered language assessments and an EF measure. Multiple regression models were utilized for analysis.

Results: Inhibitory control did not have a significant relation to passage comprehension. Dialect density significantly impacted passage comprehension for high dialect speakers.

Conclusion: We do not understand the relation between EF and reading comprehension for AA children who are dense speakers of AAE.

The NICHD grant 1R24HDO7545-01 supported this research.


Identifying Key Language Research Priorities in Autistic Children According to Parents: A Brief Survey

            Jesica Sykes; LSU
            Taylor Hale; LSU
            Eileen Haebig; LSU

The lack of involvement of the autistic community and its stakeholders in autism research has led to a call to action. Currently, autism researchers have limited knowledge about stakeholders’ priorities for research. The current study aimed to bridge the disconnect between current autism research and the recent neurodiversity movement.? We surveyed the views of parents of autistic children about language research. Twenty-five participants completed an online survey that included 15 different categories of language research topics. Participants used a slider to rank each item based on importance on a scale of 0 to 100. Next, each participant selected their top three research priorities. The results indicated that parents highly valued research focusing on how autistic children learn new words, follow directions, respond to questions (language comprehension), and echolalia. A significant portion of the extent autism literature covers these topics; however, future studies should prioritize examining the stakeholders’ highly ranked topics. Furthermore, future work should consider implementing community-based research strategies while engaging in research on the topics prioritized by the stakeholders within the autistic community.

Funding Source: LSU Start-Up Funds


The association between parental language switching and the language outcomes of children with Developmental Language Disorder

            Merel van Witteloostuijn; Utrecht University
            Elise de Bree; Utrecht University, Royal Auris Group
            Elma Blom; Utrecht University, Arctic University of Norway

Switching between languages is common in multilingual communication. Yet, the potential consequences of switching for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are unknown. Although studies of children with typical development suggest that the effect may be small, the effect could be amplified in children with DLD because of their problems with language uptake/processing. This study investigates parental language switching and its relationship with language outcomes in three- to six-year-old multilingual children with DLD in the Netherlands. We measure parental language switching through a parental questionnaire (Q-BEx; De Cat et al., 2022) and the LENA™ recording device that is used to make day-long recordings in the home environment. We distinguish between the type (between or within speakers) and direction (Dutch to other language or vice versa) of switching and explore relationships with receptive vocabulary and grammatical abilities in Dutch. The findings will be informative for professionals working with DLD and will aid better support for multilingual families on language use at home.

This research is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO; personal Vici grant to Elma Blom, VI.C.191.042).


Tutorial on a “gold standard” protocol for bilingual assessment and identification of DLD

            Danyang Wang; University of California - Irvine
            Alexander Choi-Tucci; University of California - Irvine
            Anita Mendez-Perez; ELLAS Consulting
            Ronald B. Gilliam; Utah State University
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University
            Elizabeth D. Peña; University of California - Irvine

This study introduces a protocol-based approach to bilingual language assessment and identification of DLD in the absence of an established gold standard measure. Three experienced bilingual SLPs reviewed Spanish-English bilingual children’s assessment data and rated their language ability using a multidimensional scale (0-5). Data included a combination of direct (language tasks) and indirect measures (parent/teacher survey) in both languages. Each rater independently rated the child’s performance in morphosyntax, semantics, and narratives, and assigned a summary rating considering performance across domains and languages. A diagnosis of DLD was made if the child received a summary rating of =2 from at least two raters. A total of 166 children were rated following this protocol, and 21 children were identified as having DLD. Inter-rater agreement was high across different rating items (ICC values ranged from .83 to .90). We hope to provide a framework for clinicians and researchers to assess language proficiency and identify DLD in bilingual populations for which a reference standard is not available.

Funding: R01DC007439 (Peña)


The Impact of SES on Kindergartner’s Fast Mapping across Grammatical Categories

            Brian Weiler; Western Kentucky University

The impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on children’s fast mapping of novel words is unclear. This study examined whether SES group differences in fast-mapping performance may be related to the grammatical category of the novel word. Kindergartners from high poverty, very-high poverty, and mid-low poverty schools were compared on fast mapping items from the QUILS (Golinkoff et al., 2017). Significant SES group differences were found for verbs and adjectives, but not nouns. Children from very-high poverty schools scored significantly lower than peers from the mid-low poverty and high poverty schools. Results suggest that an SES influence on fast mapping extends to verbs and adjectives but not necessarily nouns. Fast mapping tasks specific to noun learning may carry potential for kindergarten language assessment that minimizes potential bias from SES. Research support provided by a Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network grant awarded to the author and funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH-NIGMS; 8P20GM103436).

Poster Session #2


Parent Ratings of Emotion Regulation in Children with Word Reading Difficulty with and without Comorbid Language Disorder

            Taylor Berrier; University of South Carolina
            Dawna Duff; Binghamton University
            Suzanne Adlof; University of South Carolina

Purpose: Emotional dysregulation is one known risk factor for mental health problems. Recent studies suggest that children with dyslexia have increased risk for emotion regulation difficulties. These may be related to general attention and executive functions or to co-occurring language impairment, as word reading difficulties and language impairment frequently co-occur. The purpose of this study is to compare the emotion regulation abilities of children with word reading difficulties (WRD) to children with comorbid word reading and language difficulties (CRD) and typically developing children (TD).

Method: Parents of 2nd grade children with WRD, CRD, and TD completed the Emotion Regulation Index of the Behavior Rating of Executive Function-Second Edition, Parent Report.

Results: Parents of children with CRD rated their emotion regulation as significantly worse than children with TD, but there were no significant differences between WRD and TD or between WRD and CRD.

Conclusion: Results will be discussed in relation to relevant theories of emotion regulation and recommendations for future research will be made. This study is part of Project WORD, funded by the NIH - NIDCD, R01DC017156.


Frequencies and Functions of Communicative Vocalizations and Gestures in the Second Year

            Megan Burkhardt-Reed; University of Memphis
            D. Kimbrough Oller; University of Memphis, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research

Recent quantitative studies suggest that gesture in the first year is infrequent compared to rates of communicative vocalization. During the second year of life, published empirical research has tended to suggest children display a moderate preference for gestures over words. But we do not know the extent to which frequencies and functions of vocalizations and gestures may differ in the second year. This study aimed to extend previous research comparing voice and gesture by assessing vocal and gestural communicative behaviors in the second year. We evaluated rates of communicative gestures and vocalizations in 12 infants at 13, 16, and 20 months of age using parent-infant laboratory recordings. We report that in laboratory recordings of infants and their parents, infants tend to produce >2 times more vocalizations compared to gestures in the second year. The results suggest vocalization, not gesture, continues to be the predominant mode of communication in the second year. This work was supported by the Plough Foundation and NIH R01DC011027 grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders awarded to D. Kimbrough Oller.


Parent Responses or Directives: Their Association with Child Communicative Bids in Different Measurement Contexts and Child Age Groups

            Betul Cakir-Dilek; Univertsity of Minnesota Twin Cities
            Adele Dimian; Univertsity of Minnesota Twin Cities
            Amy Esler; Univertsity of Minnesota Twin Cities
            Jessica Simacek; Univertsity of Minnesota Twin Cities

Research has shown that parental responsivity, characterized by timely and semantically related responses to a child’s communication bids and activities, is positively associated with language development in typically developing children and children with developmental disabilities (Deveney et al., 2016; Yoder et al., 1998; Shimpi & Huttenlocher, 2007). This study investigates the association between parent responses/directives and child communicative bids in different measurement contexts and child age groups among children with autism. The research is in progress; however, we expect that parent responses are more likely to support contingent child communicative bids compared to directives. We also expect that the sequential associations of parent responses or directives and child communicative bids will be different in free play compared to structured play. Implications for parent-child communication intervention studies will be discussed. (Funding sources:  Health Resources and Services Administration  (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 6R41MC42776-01-04)


Exposure Matters: Item Response Theory Analysis of Spanish-English Assessment Using the BESA-ME

            Alexander Choi-Tucci; University of California, Irvine
            Joseph Hin Yan Lam; University of California, Irvine
            Cecilia Perez; University of California, Irvine
            Molly Leachman; University of California, Irvine
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University
            Elizabeth D. Peña; University of California, Irvine

Speech and language assessments are only valid for the purpose of identifying impairment to the extent that the items making up the assessment measure the skill of interest equally across individuals. In bilingual assessment, there are numerous factors that can affect an individuals’ performance on test items, and it is the responsibility of the test developers to account for these factors to ensure valid, reliable, and unbiased assessment of performance. We examined Item-level performance on the developmental version of the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment-Middle Extension (BESA-ME) for bilingual Spanish-English speaking children between the ages of 7 and 12. Rasch item response theory (IRT) analysis was used to determine whether language ability status (developmental language disorder or typical language) and bilingual exposure status (Functionally Monolingual English or Spanish, Spanish or English Dominant, Balanced) had a significant effect on the measurement of Spanish and English semantics and morphosyntax abilities. Item-level results and implications for bilingual assessment development will be discussed.

Funding: R21HD053223, R01DC010366


The Role of Semantic Richness in Novel Word-Form Learning in Children with DLD

            McKenzie Cullinan; C University of Texas at Dallas
            Allison Gladfelter; Northern Illinois University
            Sara Benham; Indiana University
            Lisa Goffman;  University of Texas at Dallas

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) show deficits in word-form learning. The aim of the present work is to evaluate whether the inclusion of sparse or relatively rich semantic cues would influence phonological and articulatory learning of nonword forms. Children practiced six nonwords over three separate sessions and across three conditions: nonwords with no semantic cues, nonwords with lexical referents (sparse semantic cues), and nonwords presented within a story (rich semantic cues). Children with DLD showed more errors than their typical peers. Further, only for children with DLD, errors were influenced by condition, with more errors in the rich than the no semantic cue condition. Findings suggest interactivity across semantic, phonological, and articulatory domains in word-form learning, with children with DLD especially sensitive to semantic factors.

Supported by R01DC016813 and R01DC04826


Caregiver Experiences with Oral Bilingualism in Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in the U.S.

            Beatriz de Diego-Lázaro; Universidad de Valladolid, Spain
            Carlos Benítez-Barrera; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Best practices recommend promoting the use of the home language and allowing caregivers to choose the language(s) they want to use with their child who is deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). We examined (1) whether Spanish-speaking caregivers of children who are DHH receive recommendations on oral bilingualism that follow best practices and (2) whether professional recommendations, caregiver beliefs, and language practices had an impact on child language(s) proficiency. Sixty caregivers completed a questionnaire on demographics, language(s) use and recommendations, beliefs on bilingualism, and child language proficiency measures in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. We found that only 23.3% of the caregivers were actively encouraged to raise their child orally bilingual. Language practices predicted child proficiency in each language, but professional recommendations and caregiver beliefs did not. Our results revealed that most caregivers received recommendations that do not follow current best practices. Professional training is needed to promote bilingualism and increase cultural competence when providing services to caregivers who speak languages different from English. This project was funded by National Science Foundation and the Latino Medical Students Association West.


The Relationship Between the Motor Complexity and Social Sophistication of Point Gestures in Autistic Children

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

Gesture provides a unique window into the interplay of social and motor skills in young children. This is of particular interest for autism researchers, as both social and motor skills are often impaired in young autistic children. However, little is known about the relationship between social and motor skills during gesture production. In this secondary analysis of data from 80 young autistic children, we examined the relationship between the social sophistication and motor complexity with which points are produced. We analyzed point gestures within a naturalistic parent–child interaction and a structured clinician–child interaction. Points were coded for social sophistication (i.e., level of communicative intent) and motor complexity (using a novel coding scheme). Results indicated the relationship between motor complexity and social sophistication was not linear. Rather, motor complexity was more closely related to the intentionality of child communication. These findings suggest motor and social skill in gesture may not be interconnected and highlight the need to consider the intentionality of child communication. Funding source: The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Autism Grant Program (Dr. Pamela Rollins, PI).


Which one should you choose? An umbrella review of interventions used by speech-language pathologists to support autistic children and youth

            Lauren Denusik; University of Western Ontario
            Lauren Choi; University of Western Ontario
            Amanda Binns; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, University of Western Ontario
            Alison Rushton; University of Western Ontario
            Janis Oram Cardy; University of Western Ontario

Speech-language pathologists (SLP) have reported using over 30 different interventions to support autistic children and youth. SLPs’ busy schedules limit their time to review the research literature to support their clinical decision-making. This registered umbrella review aimed to evaluate the quality of evidence for, and compare the efficacy of, autism interventions SLPs commonly use. Multiple databases were searched to find systematic reviews that included randomized controlled trials. Outcomes in SLPs' scope of practice were extracted, summary tables were developed, reviews were assessed for risk of bias using the Joanna Briggs Institute Checklist for Systematic Reviews, and quality of the evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations framework. Six intervention models and six commercialized interventions were examined within the 23 included reviews. Although some commercialized interventions had high-quality evidence for some outcomes, most evidence was rated low or moderate quality. Future research directions include methodological considerations and the critical need for more research on interventions for autistic youth. This research was funded by an Ontario Autism Program Workforce Capacity Fund Grant.


Towards less-biased language assessment: Exploring dynamic and processing-based assessments in diverse bilingual children

            Kerry Ebert; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
            Lizbeth Finestack; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
            Kirstin Kuchler; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
            Eugene Wong; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Rationale: Dynamic assessments and processing-based assessments hold promise for reducing the influence of prior language-learning experience within language assessment, leading to less-biased approaches for bilingual children. This presentation reports initial results from a project to develop and validate these alternative assessments in children with varied home languages.

Methods: Children from four different home language backgrounds (Malayalam, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish) completed a test battery including standardized assessments of English language comprehension, narrative and morphological dynamic assessments, and linguistic and nonlinguistic processing. Analyses compared task performance across different home languages and examined relations among tasks.

Results: Four tasks (sentence repetition, processing speed, working memory, and morpheme learning) were not significantly different across home language groups, but three tasks (nonword repetition, narrative dynamic assessment, and sustained attention) differed by home language. Partial correlations with age removed yielded seven significant relations between different dynamic and processing-based tasks, providing evidence of convergence.

Conclusions: Dynamic and processing-based tasks may provide alternatives to index language-learning skills, but tasks should be carefully examined in diverse groups of children.

Funding Sources: University of Minnesota internal funding


The Role of Child Attachment Style in Expressive Language Development

            Katherine Eulau; Temple University
            Kathy Hirsh-Pasek; Temple University

 Research over the past decade highlights the power of contingent adult-child interaction in the development of language. Numerous caregiver and dyadic features nurture language development via these rich, timely synchronous interactions. One such feature that is understudied with respect to language development is child attachment style. Some research has suggested a connection between attachment and language development, but none has investigated these in the context of contingent interaction. Bowlby described four styles of attachment: anxious, secure, avoidant, and disorganized. Based upon this characterization, secure attachment should set the stage for contingent, synchronous interactions. Therefore, we asked: Does secure attachment predict expressive language above and beyond contingent interaction quality? We conducted a secondary analysis of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development project. Attachment was measured at 15 months (Strange Situation Task), contingency was measured at 24 months using the Joint Engagement Rating Inventory, and expressive language was measured at 54 months (PLS-3). Hierarchical regression analysis holding child sex, race, income-to-needs ratio, and contingency constant indicated a significant relationship between secure attachment on expressive language outcomes. Funded by NICHD.


Bilingual Children’s Self-assessment of Bilingual Proficiency: A Longitudinal Study

            Janelle Flores; University of Houston
            Anny Castilla-Earls; University of Houston

This study explored Spanish-English bilingual children’s self-perception of proficiency changes over time. Given the variability among bilingual children’s proficiency and experiences, it is recommended that language data be obtained from multiple sources to better understand language skills. Insights regarding language proficiency and experiences may assist in improved assessment procedures for speech-language pathologists, particularly when distinguishing between language differences vs. language disorders. Data were drawn from The Houston-Q, a self-reporting measure of bilingual children’s proficiency and experience. The measure was administered annually for a two-year period to assess 113 Spanish-English bilingual children, ages 4-8. A multilevel modeling analysis was completed using longitudinal data. Analyses revealed a decrease in bilingual children’s perception of Spanish proficiency as age increased. No significant changes in English self-reported proficiency were observed. Additionally, bilingual experiences were observed to moderate self-ratings of proficiency: as English experiences increased, self-ratings of Spanish proficiency decreased. Results of this study support the use of self-reporting proficiency and experience measures to understand language changes that occur over time. This project was funded by a K23 grant from NIDCD awarded to Dr. Castilla-Earls.


Preliminary examination of the stability of sequential associations between the talk of educators and autistic preschoolers using generalizability theory

            Andrea Ford; University of Cincinnati
            Marianne Elmquist; University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sampling educators’ and children’s talk during language learning interactions requires careful consideration of factors that may impact measurement reliability and resultant inferences. Our presentation will describe a preliminary study that used generalizability theory to understand the contribution of two measurement conditions—occasions and raters—on estimates of sequential associations between educator talk and autistic preschooler talk. We video-recorded four 15-minute occasions of educator-child interactions for 11 autistic preschoolers during free play in their inclusive classroom. Two trained raters coded all videos for preschooler talk and type of educator talk (i.e., opportunity to respond [OTR], statement, other). We conducted two generalizability studies on sequential association estimates for two directions (e.g., preschooler talk following educator OTR and educator talk following preschooler talk). We had unstable estimates in our current methodological approach, with raters accounting for minimal error and occasions accounting for considerable error. Using the decision study results, we will share recommendations and implications for future investigations to estimate sequential associations within preschool language learning interactions.

Funding sources: NICHD T32 DC005359 (PI: Hartely), P50HD105353 (Waisman Center Core grant), IES #R324A170032 (PI: Johnson)


Between shifting and feedback processing in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task in children with Developmental Language Disorder

            Kristina Giandomenico; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Lauren Baron; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Asiya Gul; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Yael Arbel; MGH Institute of Health Professions

While evidence suggests children with developmental language disorder (DLD) demonstrate deficits in executive functioning, the nature of these deficits is not well understood. This study sought to investigate behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of set-shifting and feedback processing among children with and without DLD using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST). Behavioral measures of overall accuracy, shift trial performance, and responses to feedback were compared. ERP components examined included the P3a, P3b and the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN). Findings suggest that poorer behavioral outcomes by children with DLD were accompanied by distinct trends in electrophysiological responses. An interaction between group and first negative and first positive feedback events suggests the cue to switch sets elicited a more robust P3b response for TD participants, while for participants with DLD, this was seen for the cue to stay with a current set rule. Patterns in the FRN response among participants with DLD suggest that feedback leading to a response change was associated with a more typical feedback processing ERP.

This work was funded by an NIH NIDCD grant (R01DC018295) awarded to Yael Arbel.


Minoritized autistic individuals are underrepresented in studies pertaining to language impairment: A systematic review

            Teresa Girolamo; San Diego State University
            Shen Lue; Boston University
            Amalia Monroe Gulick;
            Mabel Rice;
            Inge-Marie Eigsti;

Purpose: Autism research systematically excludes racially and ethnically minoritized (REM) autistic individuals, limiting the evidence available to characterize and diagnose language impairment. This systematic review examines reporting for participant sociodemographics in studies pertaining to language impairment in autistic school-age individuals that used age-referenced assessments.

Method: This preregistered systematic review followed the PRISMA protocol. Database searches took place in August of 2021 and included Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, PsycINFO, PubMed, and the Directory of Open Access Journals from 1980 to 2021. Search terms included three essential concepts: autism, language, and age. Two coders screened and evaluated articles, discussing disagreements until they reached consensus.

Results: Of qualifying studies (n = 60), 17 (28%) reported any information on race and ethnicity; in these studies, participants were at least 77% white. Thirty-one studies reported gender or sex (52%). Ten studies (17%) reported socioeconomic status using multiple indicators.
Discussion: Findings indicate insufficient adherence to reporting guidelines and systematic exclusion of REM. Limitations and future directions are offered.

This work was supported by an ASHFoundation New Investigators Research Grant, T32DC000052, T32DC017703, P50DC018006, R01DC001803 & R01MH112678.


Spoken Language Outcomes of Children who have Unilateral Hearing Loss With and Without Hearing Aids

            Camila Goldstein Fridman; The University of Western Ontario
            Olivia Daub; School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Western Ontario
            Janis Oram Cardy; School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Western Ontario
            Marlene Bagatto; School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and National Centre for Audiology, The University of Western Ontario

Rationale: The impact of pediatric unilateral hearing loss on spoken language development is not well understood and has received limited attention. The current study aims to compare the spoken language abilities of children with UHL to normative samples and examine if there are differences between those fitted with hearing aids and those without. Methods: N=53 children with UHL aged 11-64 months were evaluated using the PLS-5. They were divided into two groups based on the provision of hearing aids (n=37 with hearing aids and n=16 without), and their scores were compared with normative data and between the two groups. Results: all children combined, and the groups with and without HA separately had similar age WEPTA and overall language abilities. The groups did not differ in standard scores on either the Auditory Comprehension or Expressive Communication scales, and they had similar distributions of children who performed within age expectations, in the borderline range, and below average. Conclusions: This study reports preliminary evidence that children with UHL appear to achieve overall spoken language commensurate with normative samples regardless of amplification status.


Effects of face masks on novel word learning in preschool-and kindergarten-age children

            Katherine Gordon; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Kaylah Lalonde; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Stephanie Lowry; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Diana Cortez; Rush University
            Grace Dwyer; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Tina Grieco-Calub; Rush University

Different types of face masks worn by talkers variably compromise the speech signal children use to learn language. Thus, there is debate about which type of mask will be support language learning in young children. Although clear masks provide more visual access to the talker’s face than surgical masks, they distort the acoustics of the speech signal more than surgical masks. Our goal is to understand the effects of different face masks on word learning in preschool-age and kindergarten-age children. Thus, we are comparing children’s novel word learning in conditions that simulate the ways that different mask types distort acoustic and visual speech cues. Children’s performance is quantified by the number of words learned and the phonological precision of words learned. We will compare children’s word-learning across conditions and evaluate the influence of individual factors such as visual speech reading skills, verbal working memory, and vocabulary knowledge on children’s performance in the various conditions. These results will inform strategies implemented to support word learning in young children in educational and childcare settings when masks are used. Funding provided by NIH-NICHD.


Using Active Implementation to Enhance Comprehensive Assessment: Usability and Facilitative Administration

            John Heilmann; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
            Alyssa Wojtyna; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
            Dawn Merth-Johnson; Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
            Natalie Douglas; Central Michigan University
            Antoinette Spector; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
            Jessica Bizub; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are guided to complete comprehensive language assessments that include multiple types of assessments, yet SLPs primarily rely on norm-referenced tests. Successful implementation of comprehensive assessments requires careful consideration across several levels of the school district. The goal of this exploration study was to learn how comprehensive assessment could be better supported and more usable (Active Implementation; Fixsen et al., 2019). We completed four focus groups with 15 Lead SLPs and used Deductive Qualitative Analysis to identify potential modifications to the assessment methods and materials that could make them more usable (i.e., Usability). Major themes included clear administration guidelines, efficient analysis practices, and straightforward interpretation. The data were further analyzed to determine how district administrators could support assessment practices (i.e., Facilitative Administration). Major themes included more time for assessment, recognition of the importance of different types of assessment data, improved access to materials and training, and increased consistency in assessment practices across the district. We will discuss how these data can inform subsequent implementation efforts. Funded by the US Department of Education & Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.


Effects of Language Ability and Construction Type on Bilingual Children’s Syntactic Productions

            Javier Jasso; University of Houston
            Anny Castilla-Earls; University of Houston
            Amanda Owens Van Horne; University of Houston

Children with DLD have difficulties with complex syntax not explained by utterance length, which has theoretical implications for the nature of this disorder. While much of this work has focused on monolingual English children with DLD, difficulties with complex syntax are seen across languages (Georgiou & Theodorou, 2022). Yet, the effects of language ability on syntactic development in bilingual language learning contexts are not well described. The current study used a cross-sectional experimental design with pre-registered hypotheses to examine the continuous effect of language ability on 39 five- to nine-year-old Spanish–English bilingual children’s production of four syntactic constructions: conditionals, subject relative clauses, object relative clauses, and passives. Overall, model results showed a significant effect of language ability and construction type, with conditional items being significantly easier than the other tested constructions. This study offers evidence that well-documented TD–DLD differences in syntactic performance in monolingual children are also evident in bilingual children. This project was funded by a K23 grant from NIDCD awarded to Dr. Castilla-Earls.


Identifying Monolingual and Bilingual Children at Risk for Developmental Language Disorder: Evidence from a Response-speed Judgment Task

            Pui Fong Kan; University of Colorado Boulder
            Gabriela Simon-Cereijido; California State University Los Angeles
            Li Sheng; Hong Kong Polytechnic University
            Kristina Blaiser; Idaho State University

The study investigates whether adults' judgment of bilingual children's response speed can be used to identify culturally linguistically diverse (CLD) preschool children at risk for developmental language disorder (DLD). Young adult participants (n = 180) were randomly assigned to the response speed interval and speaking rate groups. Stimuli were developed using 42 language samples of Spanish-English, Cantonese-English, and Mandarin-English bilingual children with and without DLD and monolingual Vietnamese-speaking children with and without DLD (mean age = 60.17; SD = 7.69). Results showed that children with DLD were significantly slower than their age-matched typically-developing peers when responding to adults in interactive narrative contexts. Regression analysis showed that adults' judgments significantly identified the DLD-TD differences, and there were no differences between L1 and L2. In addition, adult judgments were significantly correlated with the actual DLD-TD difference (in seconds) in response speed across all groups (ps < .05). The results suggest that a response-speed judgment task, along with other screening tests, can be used to identify bilingual preschool children at-risk for DLD.


The Role of Orthography and Phonology in the Development of Reading

            Jina Kim; UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
            Kristi Hendrickson; UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

There is a long-standing debate regarding the role of phonology in reading. Recent research with adults suggests that phonology is activated early and robustly during written word recognition. However, the extent to which children who are learning to read access phonology compared to orthography is still largely unknown. In the current study, we tested monolingual children aged 11-14-years (n=18) using a novel version of the visual world paradigm (VWP). Participants heard a word referring to one of four pictures while their eye-movements were tracked. We compared fixations to phonological anadromes (words matched for sounds but not letters [e.g., JAB-BADGE]) and orthographic anadromes (words matched for letters but not sounds [e.g., LEG-GEL]). Phonological anadromes showed significant activation; however, there were no significant differences between orthographic anadromes and unrelated items. These preliminary results have an implication for reading instruction for children by providing evidence that phonology is paramount for reading.


“Nothing About Us Without Us”:  Data validation of individuals guided by autistic community members

            John Kim; University of California, Berkeley
            Karen Zyskind; University of Oregon
            Marina Crain; University of Oregon
            Lois Umali; Texas State University
            Maria Resendiz; Texas State University
            Farzan Irani; Texas State University

This study will analyze twenty-five comprehensive voices of individuals, families, and school teams (n=25) in the autism community. Through the process of inter-rater validation via investigator triangulation, field notes of interview transcripts will be circulated and analyzed. Reoccurring themes and elements will be established and stratified via thematic analysis. The aim of this validation will highlight the ableist approaches to language treatment practices and challenge our current trends of inquiry into language intervention. This process will also introduce the value of participatory action research as well as the emancipatory inquiry of DisCrit (Disability Studies and Critical Studies) to promote neurodiversity through the lens of the social model of disability.


Are they building blocks? The Relationship between English Morphosyntax Structures in Bilingual School-age Children

            Joseph Hin Yan Lam; University of California Irvine
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California Irvine

Brown's stages of morphosyntactic development (1973) provided a framework to understand typical monolingual English morphosyntax development from age one to five. However, children continue to develop morphosyntactic skills during school-age to meet academic demands, and the age of acquisition for Spanish-English bilingual children was found to be different to monolingual English-speaking children. Thus, this study adopted a relatively larger dataset to model the morphosyntax development in school-age bilingual children. Participants were 827 Spanish-English bilingual children aged from six to twelve. Participants completed the morphosyntax cloze subtest of the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment—Middle Extension. With reference to the percentage of accuracy and repeated measures ANOVA, the 11 morphosyntax structures were grouped into four stages of development, which generally follow Brown's stages. Structural equation modeling yielded an excellent fit model, which suggests early stages of morphosyntax structures were associated with the development of later and complex morphosyntax structures. This result provides evidence for the relationship between the development of various morphosyntax structures and assists clinicians in selecting appropriate intervention targets. Funding: R21HD053223, R01DC010366 (Peña)


Teacher-assigned report card grades and standardized test scores in young children: Do results align?

            Theresa Pham; University of Western Ontario
            Marc Joanisse; University of Western Ontario
            Daniel Ansari; University of Western Ontario
            Janis Cardy; University of Western Ontario
            Lisa Archibald; University of Western Ontario

Teacher-assigned report card marks and standardized measures of achievement are both supposed to be measures of achievement. However, there might be concerns that report cards are more subjective than standardized tests. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between grades and standardized tests across the domains of language, reading, and mathematics. In addition, gender and school differences were examined. High correlations between the measures indicate a considerable overlap between grades and standardized scores, but the relationship did depend on the (i) domain: scores aligned better for math than language and literacy; (ii) gender: girls earned higher grades, whereas boys had higher standardized test scores; and (iii) school: discrepancies existed in grade 1 but not by grade 2. Understanding the degree of alignment between measures could bolster the use of teacher assessment as a reliable index of performance.

This study was funded (in part) by NSERC Discovery Grants awarded to each of Marc Joanisse, Daniel Ansari, Janis Cardy, and Lisa Archibald


Exploring a Novel Measure of Parent Certainty when Completing Vocabulary Checklists in Young Autistic Children

            Emily Lorang; Michigan State University
            Alex Hanania; Michigan State University
            Jennifer Johnson; Michigan State University
            Ryan Bowles; Michigan State University
            Madeline Klotz; Michigan State University
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University

Many young autistic children struggle to learn language and measuring early receptive language in this population poses a number of challenges. This study investigated the utility of parent certainty ratings of child vocabulary knowledge in autistic children. Twenty-one autistic children (ages 2-5 years) participated. Parents completed the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (MCDI) Words and Gestures form and a custom vocabulary checklist including 24 nouns from the MCDI. Within the custom form, parents indicated whether their child understood, understood and said, or neither understood nor said each noun, and reported their certainty on a five-point scale. Children completed a looking-while-listening (LWL) word comprehension task including a subset of words from the custom measure. We measured language skills and autistic traits via standardized assessments. Parent certainty was higher for words parents reported the children understood and said compared to understood only or neither understood nor said. Certainty ratings were positively associated with language scores. LWL analyses are ongoing. Parent certainty provides critical information on early vocabulary skills in autistic children.Funding: NIDCD grants R21 DC016102 (Venker) and R01 DC020165 (Venker)


Just Write! Evaluating the Impact of Spoken Language on Writing Ability in Spanish-English Bilingual Children

            Stephanie McMillen; Syracuse University
            Danelly Urrutia; Syracuse University
            Yhanelly Ruiz; Syracuse University
            Cynthia Garcia; Syracuse University

Writing is key for long-term academic success; however, there is limited information on how spoken language knowledge supports writing ability in bilingual children. The purpose of this study is to investigate young children’s narrative writing in Spanish and English. Children’s spoken language was evaluated over two telehealth visits. After testing was complete, children wrote short stories in each language based on provided prompts. Results indicate that language exposure, age, Spanish vocabulary, and morphosyntactic knowledge in Spanish and English were related to linguistic complexity of written stories. Importantly, Spanish morphosyntactic knowledge emerged as the key variable related to writing ability in both Spanish and English. This points to the important role of the home language in supporting writing development across languages and has implications for clinical assessment and educational programming for bilingual children. Funding for this project was provided to the students who contributed to this project by the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Excellence.


Parents’ Perceptions of a Virtual Parent-Mediated Program

            Katarina Miletic; Western University
            Lauren Denusik; Western University
            Michelle Servais; Thames Valley Children's Centre, Western University
            Elaine Weitzman; The Hanen Centre
            Anne McDade; The Hanen Centre
            Janis Oram Cardy; Western University

More Than Words® is delivered internationally by speech-language pathologists to teach parents strategies to support their child’s social communication and play skills. The COVID-19 pandemic required The Hanen Centre to rapidly shift to a virtual version of this program without previous empirical research. Between 2020 and 2021, over 2000 families participated in virtual More Than Words® through government-funded services for autistic children in Ontario. Our program evaluation explored parents’ perceptions of the virtually delivered program, with a focus on how experience and outcomes differed depending on the child’s social communication stage. Using stratified sampling, we selected 31 families and analyzed their Final Reflection and Evaluation form using a mixed-methods approach. Many parents reported their child’s communication improved a lot, and all parents indicated they would recommend the program to other families. Through thematic analysis of ten open-ended questions, six themes were identified to capture parents’ perspectives. These findings offer new insight into how experiences in the virtual More Than Words® program may differ depending on the child’s social communication stage. This work was funded by Western University.


Grammatical Morpheme Production and Complex Syntax Effects in Children with and without SLI

            Natalie Monroy; California State University, Los Angeles
            Ian Morton; California State University, Los Angeles
            C. Melanie Schuele; Vanderbilt University

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) are known to have deficits in tense-marking grammatical morphology (Leonard, 2014). In a study of children with SLI, Weiler and Schuele (2012) found that regular past tense marking in dependent clause utterances was more vulnerable to omissions than regular past tense marking in utterances containing single or multiple independent clauses. In our study, we compared the regular third-person singular -s (3s), copula BE and auxiliary BE verb (aux/copula BE) omissions of 11 five-year-old children with SLI to the third-person singular -s (3s), copula BE and auxiliary BE verb (aux/copula BE) omissions of same-aged peers with typical language development. We explored whether these grammatical morphemes were more vulnerable to omission in dependent clause utterances than utterances containing only independent clauses. When considering children with SLI, clausal dependency makes regular third-person singular -s more vulnerable to omission. These complexity effects were not present in the grammatical morpheme omissions of children with typical language development.

This study was supported by a Preparation of Leadership Personnel grant from the US Department of Education (H325D140087).


Quantifying Recruitment Efforts in Family-Centered Early Language Research

            Maura O'Fallon; Temple University
            Julia Jaén; Temple University
            Rebecca Alper; University of Wisconsin - Madison

Translational early language clinical trials with families are critical to informing practice, but can present disproportionately high barriers to participant recruitment. One component of successful recruitment planning is accurate estimation of the outreach efforts and time required to attain an adequately powered study sample. In this project, we will use data from an ongoing clinical trial (NIH/NIDCD K23DC017763) with caregiver–child dyads to quantify recruitment, screening, and enrollment efforts based on the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) participant flow diagram (Schulz et al., 2010). First, we will calculate the total number of caregivers contacted per dyad that completed study screening (1a) and enrollment (1b). We will also examine whether a $5 screening completion incentive significantly impacted outreach required for dyads to complete screening (2). Then, we will estimate the amount of researcher outreach time required per dyad that completed screening (3). Our findings will support investigators in planning proposals and funding requests for child language research.

FUNDING SOURCES: NIH/NIDCD K23DC017763, PI: Alper; NIH/NIDCD F31DC019864, PI: O’Fallon


Communication Initiations and Breakdowns in Infants with Elevated Likelihood for ASD

            Samantha Plate; University of Pittsburgh
            Jana Iverson; Boston University

Infants initiate interactions to get their wants and needs met; but sometimes their communication is not effective and they are misunderstood by caregivers. When this happens, they must recognize the communication breakdown and make repairs. Neurotypically developing infants acquire these skills during the first two years, but little work has investigated communication breakdowns and repairs in infants with known social communication difficulties. Here we explored communication initiations, breakdowns, and repair strategies using naturalistic observations of 18-month-old infants with elevated likelihood (EL) or typical likelihood (TL) for ASD. EL infants, including those diagnosed with ASD, initiated with caregivers, experienced breakdowns, and made repairs at similar rates to TL infants. However, the types of behaviors differed. EL infants exhibited a relative strength in making behavior regulation bids. Additionally, EL-ASD infants used developmentally appropriate repair behaviors (i.e., addition, substitution) but a larger proportion of repairs that are less helpful to interlocutors (i.e., simplification). Identifying patterns in EL infants’ communication with caregivers and capitalizing on strengths could improve interventions focused on social communication. Funding sources include Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health.


Exploring Patterns in the Difficulty of Test Items for an Adolescent Social Communication Assessment

            Gerard Poll; Miami University
            William Boone; Miami University
            Jan Petru; Elmhurst University

 This study evaluated patterns in the difficulty of test items for a new criterion-referenced assessment of adolescent social communication, the Transition Pragmatics Interview (TPI). Criterion-referenced assessment scores are often interpreted by reference to what children are typically able to do at a given age, aiding selection of intervention targets. Adolescent social communication lacks well documented developmental milestones. In the absence of milestones, we explored whether scores could be interpreted by reference to a developmental theory or by observing patterns in the progression of empirical item difficulty. Developmental levels based on an adapted Situational-Discourse-Semantics (SDS) model were evaluated as predictors of item difficulty, as were patterns based on which facet of social communication items were designed to assess. Rasch analyses facilitated the computation of item difficulty. SDS model developmental levels did not correspond to Rasch item difficulty. Rasch item difficulty varied depending on the facet of social communication ability that items were designed to assess. Patterns in the progression of item difficulty may help to indicate appropriate intervention targets. Supported by NIDCD award R15DC020521; content solely the responsibility of the authors.


How children with and without Developmental Language Disorder infer word meaning from written and spoken texts

            Ron Pomper; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Deborah Reed; University of Tennessee - Knoxville
            Nichole Eden; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Timothy Arbisi-Kelm; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Karla McGregor; Boys Town National Research Hospital

Rationale: Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are less successful than their peers with typical language development (TLD) at inferring word meaning from spoken language. The current project investigates how well children with DLD infer word meaning from written texts. Methods: 9- to 11-year-old children with DLD (n=18) and TLD (n=39) read paragraphs and listened to an examiner read paragraphs. They were tasked with inferring words that were removed from each paragraph. Results: Children in the DLD group were less accurate (M = 41.11%) than children in the TLD group (M = 65.47%). Children were similarly accurate when reading (M = 57.31%) and listening (M = 58.25%). The gap in performance between groups (DLD < TLD) was similar for both reading and listening contexts. Implications: Children with DLD were less successful than their peers with TLD at inferring the meanings of words from text. Critically, this difficulty was not due to their poor reading; inferring while listening was equally compromised. Interventions improving oral inferential comprehension may improve reading outcomes for children with DLD. Funding: NIH-NIDCD R01 DC011742.


Effects of Home Literacy Activities and Classroom Quality on Children’s Vocabulary: Secondary Analysis of 2014 FACES Dataset

            (Cathy) Huaqing Qi; University of New Mexico
            Teagan Mullins; University of New Mexico
            Jenna Futterer; University of Miami
            Rebecca Bulotsky-Shearer; University of Miami
            M. Lee Van Horn; University of New Mexico
            Jason Chow; University of Maryland at College Park

Vocabulary skills provide the foundation for school readiness and promote cognitive, social, behavioral, and literacy development for young children. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between home literacy activities and classroom quality and children’s vocabulary over an academic year in a sample of 1,923 preschool children enrolled in Head Start. We analyzed data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2014) and found that parents’ reading three or more times to children at home in the past week was positively associated with children’s expressive and receptive vocabulary. Measures of classroom quality were not associated with children’s vocabulary. Findings suggest the importance of parents’ providing more opportunities to have conversations at home by reading to children to support their vocabulary development.


Do stimulant medications improve DLD symptoms?

            Sean Redmond; University of Utah
            Andrea Ash; University of Utah
            Yue Zhang; University of Utah

Four groups of children (ADHD, ADHD+DLD, DLD, TD) were administered a psycholinguistic battery twice to examine potential medication and practice effects across tasks (n=62). Children with ADHD and concomitant ADHD+DLD who had been prescribed stimulant medications were assessed on- and off-medication, with order counterbalanced across participants. Examiners were unaware of children’s clinical status during assessments or when they were testing children who had received medication. Significant medication effects among ADHD cases exceeding standard errors of measurement (SEM) were observed on sentence recall and receptive vocabulary measures. Medication benefits were more robust for the ADHD than the ADHD+DLD group. Significant practice effects among non-ADHD cases were observed on narrative comprehension and reading measures, but these effects did not exceed SEM. Results suggest underlying deficits in inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or executive functioning might contribute to suboptimal test-taking behaviors that can lead to diagnostic errors with sentence recall and receptive vocabulary measures. Funding source: NIDCD R01CD017153.


Morphosyntactic features of child Pidgin in Hawai?i: First steps towards developing a linguistic profile to inform clinical decision making

            Bethany F. Schwartz; California State University – Monterey Bay
            Christine Fiestas; University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
            Theres Grüter; University of Hawai?i at Manoa

Speakers of non-standardized language varieties including Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole) continue to be at-risk of misdiagnosis of developmental language disorder. The language development of child speakers of Pidgin has never been well described. In response, this study aims to provide a rich description of morphosyntax features used in child Pidgin. Results will serve in developing linguistic profiles for more accurate identification of child Pidgin speakers. The study draws upon a corpus of children’s narrative retellings across Hawai?i. Self-identifying adult Pidgin-speakers rated audio-samples (grades K-3rd) on a Likert-type scale and the 16 most consistently Pidgin-rated (PR) and 16 most English-rated (ER) files were transcribed and analyzed. Mean number of Pidgin-tokens/utterance (Pidgin Density Measure) was higher among PR than ER children (Welch's t(30)=-5.71, p<.001). Listener-ratings were also strongly correlated to PDM (r(30)=-.85, p<.001), indicating the value of listener judgments in identifying Pidgin-speaking children. Findings from this small-scale study provide a rich description of morphosyntax in child Pidgin and have implications for reducing bias in language assessment for this historically underserved population.

Funding: American Speech-Language Hearing Association Multicultural Activities Award, Fiestas, 2013.


A Characterization of Word-Level Differences in Young Autistic and Non-Autistic Children

            Stanley West; Louisiana State University
            Eileen Haebig; Louisiana State University
            Christopher Cox; Louisiana State University

Recent work has reported differences in early vocabulary composition between young autistic and non-autistic children. This work has indicated that, although autistic children are learning from their environment, they may be processing their input differently and may be biased to learn different words. The current study examined whether young autistic children and non-autistic toddlers are biased to learn different words. The current study analyzed the expressive vocabularies of 200 autistic children (Mage=48.14 months) and 2,647 non-autistic children (Mage=20.73 months), matched on expressive vocabulary size. First, binomial analyses were used to indicate the likelihood of word production in the autistic group based on the probability in the non-autistic group within a certain vocabulary bin. We found 301 words that differed in production between groups. Next, effect size was computed for each word by looking at the probability of production across vocabulary size. Of the 301 words, 129 had a large effect size (>1 logit difference). These findings further quantify word-level learning differences between autistic and non-autistic children.


Adolescents’ Production of Past Tense Counterfactual Sentences: Elicitation Tasks and Response Modalities

            Huanhuan Shi; New York University
            Christina Reuterskiöld; Linköping University

Past tense counterfactual sentences (e.g., if you had watered the plant, it would not have died) have been receiving increasing attention in research. However, previous studies reported mixed findings regarding the production of PTCF sentences. One possible reason may be that previous studies used different elicitation tasks and response modalities. To align these mixed findings and better understand the developmental trajectory of PTCF sentences, the present study employed a 2 x 2 design incorporating two elicitation tasks (sentence priming and story retelling) and two response modalities (spoken vs. written) to examine if the production of PTCF sentences varies with tasks and modalities. The study included 27 English-speaking adolescents (mean age = 16.3). We found that adolescents' production of PTCF sentences varied systematically with elicitation tasks and response modalities, with higher accuracy in a sentence priming task than in a story-retelling task and in spoken production compared to written production. These findings indicate the importance of considering the effects of tasks and modalities when assessing children’s production of specific types of complex sentences.

Doctoral research grant at Steinhardt, New York University


Attention-Getting Strategies Used by Deaf and Hearing Parents with their Autistic Children

            Aaron Shield; Miami University
            Kaleigh Hollyday; Miami University
            Katherine Kingsbury; Miami University
            Grace Koenig; Miami University

Episodes of joint attention have long been regarded as rich opportunities for language learning. Deaf parents have considerable advantages over hearing parents in their ability to regulate their deaf children’s visual attention; here we ask if this advantage extends to autism. We investigated how Deaf and hearing parents of autistic children ages 3-5 regulate their children’s visual attention during a play-based protocol. We analyzed six dyads of Deaf and hearing parents interacting with their young autistic children (3 hearing and 3 Deaf dyads). A coding scheme was developed through qualitative exploration of the data; 25 types of attention-getting and attention-maintenance strategies were identified in the visual, auditory, and tactile modalities. Data are currently being coded with the goal of identifying differences between Deaf and hearing parents in their attempts to gain and maintain their autistic children’s visual attention. This pilot study will then lay the groundwork for future studies in which the success of different kinds of attention-getting strategies can be measured and compared. Funding was provided by Miami University’s College of Arts and Science Dean’s Scholar Program.


Do Bilingual Books Actually Work? Parents’ Language Choice During Shared Book Reading

            Caitlyn Slawny; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Melina Knabe; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bilingual storybooks are designed to be read in two languages and might be a promising way to support the emerging language skills of bilingual children (Castro et al., 2011). However, limited research has investigated how bilingual parents and children actually use bilingual storybooks during shared book readings: Do they use both languages or read in a single language? Do parent and child language profiles predict language choice during book readings? The current project begins to address this gap in the literature by recording 44 Spanish-English bilingual parent-child dyads reading bilingual storybooks. Most parents (n = 35, 80%) read in a single language instead of in both languages. Pairwise comparisons between parents who used one vs. two languages during shared book reading revealed significant differences in socioeconomic status, language dominance, and language proficiency. The next step is to assess whether children’s language use aligns with parents’ language use at the utterance level, and whether certain book characteristics are more likely to elicit use of two languages. Together, this work will reveal how language characteristics affect bilingual families’ shared reading practices.

Funding source: National Institutes of Health Grant R01DC016015


The development of spoken and written word recognition

            Mi Trinh; University of Iowa
            Jina Kim; University of Iowa
            Emily Phalen; University of Iowa
            Bob McMurray; University of Iowa
            Kristi Hendrickson; University of Iowa

Word recognition is a process by which words that partially match the target are activated in parallel and compete for recognition (e.g., when hearing a target, "candle", competitors like "candy" are considered). Previous work in spoken and written word recognition characterizes this process in adults and specifies what words compete and when (McClelland & Rumelhart, 1981). We investigate this process in children and adolescents. Two groups (7-year-olds: n= 23; 12-year-olds: n=26) completed a Visual World Paradigm (VWP) task, replicating the experimental design of a recent study on adults by Hendrickson, et al. (2022). For spoken words, both groups showed evidence for activation of competitors with matching initial phonemes (i.e., cohorts), affirming that children are sensitive to temporal order. In written word recognition, there was evidence for activation of anadromes (e.g., cat/tack) activation in the 12-year-old group but not the 7-year-old group, suggesting that the trajectory of reading skill development may contribute to less rigid reliance on spatial order. Overall, word recognition system appears to become more flexible throughout development. This study is funded by NIH DC008089.


Quién lo dijo mejor (QLDM) “Who said it best”-  Developing phonological awareness assessments for Spanish-speaking preschoolers in the U.S.

            Karen Zyskind; University of Oregon
            Alejandra Miranda; University of Minnesota
            Yessy Medina; University of Oregon
            Tony Daza; University of Oregon
            Carlos Chávez; University of Minnesota
            Alisha Wackerle-Hollman; University of Minnesota
            Lillian Durán; University of Oregon

Phonological Awareness (PA) is an important aspect of language development that predicts later literacy outcomes. The expected progression of PA for bilingual children is less researched demonstrating the need for appropriate measures to be developed for use for bilingual children under the age of 4. This study reports preliminary results from a new measure titled ¿Quién lo dijo mejor? (QLDM), which measures emergent PA for children between 36 and 54 months with varying levels of exposure to Spanish and English. Data collection is taking place in preschool classrooms across the U.S. with bilingual preschool children and bilingual data collectors. A descriptive statistics analysis will be run to determine the PA abilities of bilingual children, while Rasch modeling will be used to estimate item level statistics that would describe the ability range of participants. This study aims to develop appropriate measures that will yield a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying PA and their breakdown in children with language difficulties. This study is funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences.

Poster Session #3


Influences of DLD Risk and Internalizing Problems on Bilingual Adolescents’ Narrative Productions

            Nahar Albudoor; Gallaudet University
            Cecilia Perez; University of California, Irvine
            Erin Rodriguez; University of Texas at Austin
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California, Irvine

This study investigated the relationships between English-Spanish bilingual adolescents’ narrative productions and their risk for developmental language disorder (DLD) and internalizing problems (IP; i.e., anxious, withdrawn, and/or depressive symptoms). Participants were 83 English-Spanish-speaking Latinx adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15. Participants and their caregivers completed a battery of mental health and language measures. When controlling for language experience, age, and sex, risk for DLD predicted lower grammaticality, lower lexical diversity, and more errors in narrative productions, but this was not the case for IP. Rather, risk for IP predicted higher overall productivity and lexical diversity. The implications of these findings will be discussed. This research was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Grant R03 HD087648.


Communicating speech-language pathology services: A survey study of parental perceptions and preferences

            Andrea Ash; University of Utah
            Kristin Pruett; University of Utah
            Amy Wilder; University of Utah
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah
            Brett Meyers; University of Utah

Successful communication between speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and parents of children with communication disorders is essential for providing evidence-based practice and may lead to optimized outcomes for children. This study examined parental preferences regarding communications with their child’s SLP and their levels of satisfaction. Parents (n = 49) rated statements regarding communication with their child’s SLP using an online survey. Analyses indicated that parents of children receiving speech services only (n = 27) and parents of children receiving other SLP services (n = 22) wanted simple explanations for their child’s speech and/or language problem. There were significant differences between the groups when considering whether parents and SLPs had the same goals for their child and whether the SLP had thoroughly explained the child’s treatment. Parents of children in both groups indicated in-person and email communication was most preferred, while receiving information through mail and support groups was least preferred.


Dissociating verbal mediation and executive function in children with developmental language disorder

            Lauren Baron; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Asiya Gul; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Kelsey Black; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Annika Schafer; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Yael Arbel; MGH Institute of Health Professions

Many children with developmental language disorder (DLD) also have impaired executive function (EF). However, it is difficult to discern whether poor performance on EF tasks is due to weak EF skills and/or ineffective verbal mediation – the use of language through internal self-talk to guide performance. This project aims to dissociate the effects of verbal mediation and EF on shifting task performance in school-aged children with DLD. The effect of verbal mediation is reflected in an increased switch cost when the task is completed with versus without articulatory suppression. The effect of EF is captured in the cue-P3 event-related potential (ERP) extracted from electroencephalography (EEG). Preliminary results show a pattern of increased switch costs for DLD compared to TD. The additional time on switch trials appeared to support accuracy, suggesting effective but inefficient verbal mediation in DLD. ERP results are expected to show increased cue-P3 amplitudes on switch versus stay trials in TD only, indicating stronger EF in TD. Final results will have implications for interpreting clinical assessments and the development of EF interventions. This work is funded by NIDCD F32DC020095.


Early Stages of Design Research Project with Specialist Teachers of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

            Rachel Benninger; University of Western Ontario
            Lisa Archibald; University of Western Ontario

Specialist teachers support students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) in the classroom. Curriculum-based assessment and intervention tools are needed in order to foster these students’ language and literacy development, but these tools are often lacking. Educational Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) have expert knowledge in speech/language development, assessment, and intervention and are well placed to support specialist teachers in providing educational services to students who are DHH. We aim to develop a bespoke tool for use by specialist teachers in the assessment of curriculum-based spoken language in DHH students. In the initial phase of the project, 3 focus groups and 1 site visit were completed to gather information regarding participants’ needs in a curriculum-based assessment. A further focus group was held after initial piloting. Four curriculum-based assessment components were designed targeting each of vocabulary, morphology, sentential syntax, and discourse. After piloting with students, participants made suggestions for revising each component. Revisions of the bespoke tool are currently underway based on participant feedback. Funding provided by Social Studies and Humanities Research Council of Canada #890-2017-0072.


Spectrally degraded speech leads to increased and expanded competition in children’s spoken word recognition

            Christina Blomquist; University of Maryland
            Jan Edwards; University of Maryland
            Rochelle Newman; University of Maryland

Children with cochlear implants discriminate phonemic contrasts less reliably than peers with typical hearing when contrasts rely on perception of spectral acoustic features (place), but not when contrasts rely on temporal cues (voicing). The present study investigates how speech perception differences contribute to delays in spoken word recognition with a spectrally degraded signal. Thirty-nine 9- to 13-year-old children with typical hearing listened to noise-vocoded spoken words and selected pictures in an eye-tracking study. Each target word (e.g., saddle) appeared in three conditions: 1) No-Competitor trials with no phonologically similar words, 2) Cohort trials with one cohort competitor (sandwich) and two unrelated distractors, and 3) Contrast-cohort trials with a competitor word with an initial consonant differing by a phonetic feature, followed by a shared vowel (shadow). Contrast-cohorts differed from the target by place (/t/ vs. /k/ or /s/ vs. /?/) or voicing (/k/ vs. /g/ or /p/ vs. /b/). Children demonstrated increased and expanded cohort competition for contrasts that rely on perception of spectral cues, but not those that rely on temporal cues. Funded by NSF [BCS-2141399, DGE-1449815] and NIDCD [1F31DC020120-01].


Comparison of the Test of Pragmatic Language – Second Edition and the Children’s Communication Checklist - Second Edition in Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Average IQ

            Jenny Burton; Western Kentucky University
            Brian Weiler; Western Kentucky University

Commonly used pragmatic language assessments include samples predominately of males during the standardization process. Thus, these assessments may fail to adequately capture pragmatic language deficits of girls with ASD at an acceptable level. We administered the Test of Pragmatic Language – Second Edition (TOPL-2) and the Children’s Communication Checklist - Second Edition (CCC-2) to girls with ASD and average IQ and girls who are typically developing (TD). The relationship amongst participants’ scores on the TOPL-2 and CCC-2 and the classification accuracy of both measures were examined. Thirty-seven girls were included (18 ASD, 19 TD). The groups matched on age, IQ, and core language. TOPL-2 and CCC-2 scores were not significantly correlated for either group. Utilizing the cut-off scores in the test manuals, both measures demonstrated low sensitivity. Using the empirically derived cut-off scores, the CCC-2 demonstrated acceptable classification accuracy, whereas the TOPL-2 did not.

This research was funded by the Jack H. Rubinstein Foundation for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and awarded to Jenny M. Burton.


Systematic Review of Clinical Guideline Documents for Speech-Language Pathologists Working with Autistic Children

            Lauren Choi; Western University
            Janis Oram Cardy; Western University
            Amanda Binns; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Western University, University of Toronto

Rationale: Clinical guideline documents can be effective for promoting equitable, evidence-based, and high-quality service delivery. Existing guidelines for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who support autistic children have yet to be critically appraised to ensure that they can adequately support clinical decision making and practice.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the quality and content of guidelines for SLPs who provide assessment and intervention services for autistic children. Guidelines were appraised using the AGREE II tool. Content analysis was conducted to compare practice recommendations, identify inconsistencies, and highlight areas that need to be addressed in future guideline development. 

Results: Three guideline documents met inclusion criteria. Overall, rigor of their development was weak, with clinical recommendations across documents differing in both content and specificity. All guidelines failed to meaningfully include the lived experiences of autistic people and their families in their development.

Conclusions: There is a need for autism-specific guidelines for SLPs that are rigorously developed, informed by current research, clinically actionable, and created in partnership with communities.

Funding: This work was funded by an Ontario Autism Program Workforce Capacity Grant.


30 Years of Not Doing Enough: A Scoping Review of DLD and Written Language

            Alexander Choi-Tucci; University of California, Irvine
            Elizabeth Choi; University of Southern California

This study presents a scoping review of available literature from 1991 to 2022 focused on the presentation of written language abilities of individuals with developmental language disorder (DLD) from early childhood to adulthood. Seventy-four studies in this span were identified as examining written language skills in children, adolescents, and adults with DLD.  Results of this review suggest that spelling is an area of relative weakness for individuals with DLD across the lifespan. Children and adolescents with DLD may have weaknesses in grammar, cohesion, and length of writing samples. Notably, adults with DLD are significantly understudied, with research to date focusing primarily on spelling abilities. The body of research on written language abilities is limited, and several knowledge gaps were identified that must be addressed to bolster speech-language pathologists’ and educators’ ability to provide evidence-based support to individuals with DLD who struggle with writing. Furthermore, only two studies in this review focused on typed writing, highlighting a significant gap in our understanding of potential differences between typed and handwritten texts.
Funding Source: None.


Complex Syntax Methods of Assessment: Relative Clauses

            Ana Delgado; Vanderbilt University Medical Center
            Melanie Schuele; Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Some children struggle with relative clauses, a type of complex syntax, which may impact their academic performance. Assessments that measure children’s relative clause skill are thus needed. We compare two sentence imitation tasks and one elicitation task, common assessments in the research literature, in typically developing preschoolers. A significant between-group difference for the 3- and 5-year-old groups (in addition to medium to high effect sizes for the other age groups) on all tasks was found. There were no statistically significant within-group differences between the straight imitation task (SIT) and toy elicitation task (TET). The SIT, which appeared to yield similar results to the TET, may provide an equally valid measure of relative clause production. Additionally, the SIT may be able to capture growth over the years, given the age effects observed. The research described was supported by CTSA award No. UL1 TR002243 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent official views of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.


Morphosyntactic profiles of autistic boys and boys with fragile X + autism: A person-centered analysis

            Marianne Elmquist; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Nell Maltman; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Claudia Schabes; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Kelsey Reis; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Kaylee Commet; University of Wisconsin - Madison
            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin - Madison

Many autistic boys and boys with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and co-occurring autism demonstrate morphosyntactic deficits. Morphosyntactic difficulties impair communication abilities and influence a child’s ability to communicate effectively and participate in academic and social activities. It is critical to understand the extent and nature of morphosyntactic challenges to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of morphosyntactic interventions for these clinical groups. The current study used a two-step cluster analysis to examine the extent to which individual differences exist in boys with FXS + autism and autistic boys’ morphosyntactic abilities. Participants included 16 boys with FXS + autism and 20 autistic boys between the ages of 9 and 18 years. Implications related to improving morphosyntactic interventions will be discussed.

Funding Sources: T32 DC005359 (Harley), P50HD105353 (Chang), 1K23DC016639-01 (Sterling).


Accuracy and Productivity of Articles and Direct Object Clitics in Bilingual Children With and Without DLD

            Alicia Escobedo; San Diego State University/UC San Diego
            Sonja Pruitt-Lord; San Diego State University

In the assessment of Spanish-English bilinguals, research has identified articles and direct object clitics as two grammatical markers of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Analysis of children’s productions of articles and direct object clitics reveals information on a child’s language ability in Spanish (Castilla-Earls et al., 2020). The current study aims to further investigate the clinical utility of articles and direct object clitics in the assessment of Spanish-English bilingual children with and without DLD by comparing the accuracy and productivity of these grammatical markers during spontaneous language samples. Productivity, the breadth and diversity of children’s productions of grammatical markers, has been shown to yield group differences between children with and without DLD (Gladfelter & Leonard, 2013). In the current study, we examine the productivity of articles and direct object clitics in the language samples of 32 children. Preliminary analyses show that all children in this study demonstrate a high accuracy of articles and direct object clitics and that productivity is useful for capturing the emerging language abilities of these young bilingual children. This work was funded by an NIH F31 fellowship (1F31HD111303-01).


Balancing standardization and ecological validity in the measurement of social communication intervention outcomes

            Hannah Feiner; Northwestern University
            Bailey Sone; Northwestern University
            Jordan Lee; Northwestern University
            Jeffrey Grauzer; Northwestern University
            Megan Roberts; Northwestern University

Communication outcomes in caregiver-mediated interventions are inconsistently measured, with varying assessment settings, materials, and activities. Using standardized toy sets to measure intervention outcomes may not reflect the activities and materials prioritized by or available to all families participating in interventions, contributing to inequities in research methods. This within-subjects study of 22 autistic toddler-mother dyads investigates how mother and child communication outcomes differ between home and standardized interactional contexts, following an 8-week caregiver-mediated telehealth intervention. Child outcomes (total spontaneous directed communicative acts) and caregiver outcomes (fidelity of using responsive communication facilitation strategies) were measured during two interactional contexts using: (1) family-selected materials/activities, and (2) a standardized toy set. Complete results are forthcoming but preliminarily indicate that caregiver fidelity of communication facilitation strategies and child communication outcomes did not significantly differ between home and standardized interactional contexts. These results contribute to the measurement of intervention efficacy to ensure that outcome measures are embedded within contexts meaningful to each child’s participation in activities of daily living and equitable for all families participating in research.This study was funded by NIH’s NIDCD (NCT04501588, DCR014709).


Studies pertaining to language impairment in school-age autistic individuals differently operationalize language impairment: A systematic review

            Teresa Girolamo; San Diego State university
            Lue Shen; Boston University
            Amalia Monroe Gulick; University of Kansas
            Mabel Rice; University of Kansas
            Inge-Marie Eigsti; University of Connecticut

Purpose: Language in autism is heterogeneous and can co-occur with language impairment (LI). This systematic review examines reporting practices for language skills using age-referenced assessments in autistic individuals, asking:

1)         What are the reporting patterns of LI in ASD prior to and after publication of the DSM-5?

2)         How does the literature characterize the language abilities of autistic individuals with respect to LI using age-referenced assessments?

Method: This preregistered systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines. Searches included four databases, records from 1980 to 2022, and three essential concepts: autism, language, and age. Two coders independently screened and evaluated articles, resolving disagreements through consensus.

Results: Of 60 qualifying studies, 25 (42%) addressed LI in ASD. Studies varied in how they operationalized and determined LI status, with no discernible patterns by DSM version. Findings indicated variable language profiles in autistic individuals with and without LI.

Discussion: Inconsistent operationalization of LI underlines the importance of diagnostic and grouping criteria in interpreting research on LI in autism. Limitations and future directions are offered.

Funding: ASHFoundation New Investigators Research Grant, T32DC000052, T32DC017703, P50DC018006, R01DC001803 & R01MH112678.


Do Remote-Microphone Systems Support Speech Processing in Noisy Environments for Children with Developmental Language Disorder?

            Katherine Gordon; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Dawna Lewis; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Stephanie Lowry; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Heusinkvelt Maggie; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            McCreery Ryan; Boys Town National Research Hospital

The classrooms that children occupy often include a good deal of background noise and reverberation. However, children must be able to hear and process speech to learn from classroom instruction. Some children in particular can struggle with processing speech in noise. This includes children who are hard of hearing as well as children with poorer language skills. Remote-microphone (RM) systems have been shown to support the speech processing of children who are hard of hearing. RM systems may also support speech processing in children with developmental language disorder (DLD) given that these children often have poorer language knowledge and verbal working memory skills than their peers. The current study examines the ability of children with DLD (5-12 years) to process speech in noise with and without the support of a RM. We will compare their speech processing performance to peers with typical development matched on age, sex, and maternal education. By identifying whether RMs can support speech processing in children with DLD, we can better support their classroom learning. Funding provided by NIH-NIDCD R01DC013591. RM systems provided by Phonak.


Bilingual Children Demonstrate Shared Knowledge of Narrative Macrostructure in Stories Independent of Exposure

            Alejandro Granados Vargas; University of California, Irvine
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California, Irvine
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University

Rationale: We investigate the relationship between narrative macrostructure and language exposure in Spanish-English bilinguals. Macrostructure knowledge has been claimed to be shared across languages in multilingual individuals, an example of translanguaging.

Methods: Using existing data, we analyzed the macrostructure of Spanish-English bilingual second graders’ stories. A linear regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between language exposure and microstructure.

Results: No statistically significant relationship was found between language exposure and macrostructure, except between story structure score in Spanish and Spanish exposure. Post hoc analysis revealed a significant relationship between macrostructure performance in English and Spanish.

Conclusion: Findings are consistent with extant literature that claims narrative macrostructure is shared across languages. Additionally, a supportive Spanish environment benefits the Spanish macrostructure.

Funding: Grant: The Integrated Research Training: Language & Literacy Disabilities (IRT-LLD), Bilingual Outcomes (NIDCD) R01DC010366


Characterizing the Trajectory of the Shape Bias Across Noun Vocabulary Size in Young Autistic and Non-Autistic Preschool Children

            Eileen Haebig; Louisiana State University
            Claire Bourgeois; Louisiana State University
            Christopher Cox; Louisiana State University

Shape is a salient object property and one of the first that children use to categorize objects under one label. Colunga and Sims (2017) suggest that noun vocabulary composition and word-learning biases are closely interrelated in typical development. The current study examined the association between noun vocabulary knowledge and perceptual word features, specifically shape and material features. Participants included 272 autistic children and 1,021 non-autistic toddlers who were matched on expressive noun vocabulary size. Nouns were categorized using the Samuelson and Smith (1999) noun feature database. A simple group comparison revealed no group differences in shape bias; both groups evidenced developing noun vocabularies that favored shape+solid and nonsolid+material nouns. However, the trajectory of evidence of shape bias as a function of vocabulary size differed between the groups, with autistic children demonstrating a reduced shape-bias initially. Future work should examine how children’s learning biases shift over development and whether the shape bias promotes lexical development to the same degree across groups.

Funding: LA Board of Regents RCS LEQSF(2020-23)-RD-A-05


Pattern-based target selection for treatment of irregular past tense: A single-case experimental design study with children with DLD

            Kirsten Hannig Russell; University of Utah
            Amy Wilder; University of Utah
            Julie Wambaugh; University of Utah

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) demonstrate difficulty inflecting irregular past tense verbs. We used phonologically-based patterns (i.e., internal vowel change, internal vowel change with a final alveolar consonant, and internal vowel change with a change to the final phoneme) to select targets for treatment of irregular verb inflection. Three 7-year-old children with DLD received this novel treatment in the context of a multiple baseline design across behaviors and participants. Our aim was to determine if this approach would result in acquisition of treated verbs and generalization to untreated verbs within the same phonological pattern. Positive acquisition effects were noted for two of three participants. Generalization to untreated items occurred within and across treatment sets for two participants. Outcomes demonstrated preliminary support for a pattern-based approach to target selection for treatment of irregular past tense verbs. Funding source: Unfunded.


Language switching as a sign of both strength and weakness in children’s language and cognitive control skills

            Emily Hansen; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Caitlyn Slawny; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Margarita Kaushanskaya; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Past studies examining code-switching behaviors in bilingual children have found both language and cognitive control skills predictive of children’s code-switching behaviors. In conversations with monolingual speakers of their two languages, children with higher levels of language and cognitive control skills were less likely to produce cross-speaker switches (use a language different from their interlocutor). In the current study, forty-three Spanish-English bilingual parent-child dyads participated in a play-based interaction. Children completed the BESA to index language ability and a flanker task to index inhibitory control. Analyses revealed children with lower language skills and inhibitory control were more likely to produce cross-speaker switches in response to Spanish while children with higher language skills and inhibitory control code-switched more in response to English (p<.001). These findings are consistent with prior studies indicating both language ability and cognitive control shape children’s code-switching behavior. Directionality of the effects may depend on the pragmatic aspects of an interaction, including whether the child is interacting with a bilingual or a monolingual conversation partner. This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 DC016015, U54 HD090256.


Language characteristics in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A longitudinal case study

            Amy Hardy; Idaho State University
            Diane Ogiela; Idaho State University

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a postnatal withdrawal syndrome in children prenatally exposed to opioids. Many of them experience long-term cognitive, behavioral, developmental, and educational challenges and have increased language delays. Because of limited information on the specific language characteristics/development in children with NAS, we conducted this longitudinal case study to start filling this gap in the literature.  We present 5 years of longitudinal language data on a male child diagnosed with NAS. Formal language tests were administered and language samples were collected triennially from the age of 2;1, until 7;1 through a university clinic.  Standardized assessment results indicated moderate language impairment at ages 2;1 and 3;2. By 3;11, his scores were within 1 SD of the mean. However, language sample analyses and clinical observations continued to indicate considerable language deficits in multiple areas including low MLU, reduced sentence complexity, vocabulary use, increased mazes, and limited narrative skills. We concluded that language sample analyses best described this child’s ongoing functional language deficits, despite typical test scores. Further research is needed on language skills in NAS to improve assessment and intervention.


Accommodation to Vocal Pitch in Children with Autism

            Anqi Hu; University of Delaware
            Sean Redmond; University of Utah
            Zhenghan Qi; Northeastern University
            Kathryn Franich; Harvard University

Atypical speech prosody represents a crucial diagnostic feature of autism. Speech accommodation, a process of adapting to the speech characteristics of another talker, is a common phenomenon in typically developing (TD) adults. However, little is known regarding whether autistic children, who have atypical prosodic profiles and social communication skills, also spontaneously accommodate to others’ speech. Thirty 5-to-10-year-old autistic children and 30 age-matched TD children repeated sentences after two model talkers either speaking with their original pitch or with artificially raised pitch. Acoustic analysis revealed that only the autistic children displayed evidence of pitch accommodation. In a follow-up experiment, 25 TD children were explicitly asked to copy the voice of the talkers; here, they showed a similar degree of pitch accommodation to the autistic children. We discuss results in the context of developmental patterns of speech accommodation and suggest autistic children might be more likely to accommodate to pitch changes due to differences in their sensitivity to the communicative function of speech, and to the slightly less typical-sounding voice of the higher-pitch model talker. This research is sponsored by NIDCD (R21DC017576).


What are the factors affecting reading comprehension abilities in Reading Comprehension in Children with Developmental Language Disorders? A Systematic Review

            Joseph Hin Yan Lam; University of California Irvine
            Molly Leachman; University of California Irvine
            Amy Pratt; University of Cincinnati
            Elizabeth Peña; University of California Irvine

Individuals with developmental language disorders (DLD) had higher rates of reading comprehension difficulties. One of the reading comprehension models, the Active View of Reading (AVR; Duke & Cartwright, 2021) features several advantages over other models; namely, it includes instructionally malleable factors, it accounts for the overlap between word recognition and language comprehension using bridging processes, and it incorporates active self-regulation to represent the cognitive aspect of reading. Given the model is proposed based on typically developing children, this current systematic review is needed to explain whether there are any other potential factors affecting the reading comprehension abilities in children with DLD. After electronic database search and journal hand-search, 45 studies were included and further coded. While the result aligned with the AVR model, there were three other factors affecting reading comprehension abilities in children with DLD, namely expressive language (oral and written), question types of reading assessment, and language disorder history. In addition, mixed findings were noted on phonology. The result suggests that clinicians can consider more components than the AVR model when evaluating reading comprehension abilities in children with DLD. No funding information.


Predictors of Language Treatment Progress in Bilingual Children with Developmental Language Disorder

            HaeJi Lee; University of Minnesota
            Kerry Ebert; University of Minnesota

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) overall benefit from language treatment; however, the extent of the treatment response varies across individuals. In order to examine this variability, we systematically reviewed articles that studied possible predictors of individual treatment outcomes in children with DLD. This study focused specifically on treatment outcome predictors for bilingual children with DLD. Therefore, we selected articles from the overall systematic review that involved bilingual children, yielding four articles, and extracted key details. The results indicate first language (L1) skills are substantial predictors of both L1 and second language (L2) outcomes after language treatment. In addition, several individual factors, such as age, gender, and cognition, were associated with L1 outcomes. Our results support the importance of maintaining L1 skills in bilingual children to further advance in their both L1 and L2 skills.

Funding source: University of Minnesota internal funding


An examination of the relationship between early vocal production and later language abilities in young children with cerebral palsy

            Helen Long; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center
            Katherine Hustad; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center

Children with cerebral palsy (CP, the most common neuromotor developmental disorder) are at significant risk for both speech motor and language impairments; however, few studies have studied language abilities in this population, especially under 24 months. The study of prelinguistic vocalizations offers promise as a potential predictor for speech and language developmental trajectories. In 21 infants with CP (11 female), we compared their prelinguistic vocal production during ~15-minute laboratory parent-child interactions around 12 months to later language performance around 24 months. Vocalizations were coded using the Stark Assessment of Early Vocal Development (SAEVD). Later language performance was measured using the MacArthur-Bates Communication Development Inventory-III (CDI). To gauge the association with speech motor performance, we also compared vocal production to later speech abilities using an intelligibility screener around 36 months of age. Implications of neurological damage on language and speech motor performance in clinical populations at risk for motor impairment will be discussed. Funding support for this project was provided by the ASHFoundation, NIDCD (R01DC015653) and the NICHD (T32HD007489 and U54HD090256).


Linguistic Alignment Among Mother-Child Dyads and Links with Autism Traits

            Nell Maltman; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Kelsey Reis; University of Wisconsin-Madison
            Audra Sterling; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Autistic boys and boys with fragile X syndrome and a co-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (FXS+ASD) exhibit similar pragmatic language impairments. Similarities in pragmatics are also observed among mothers of children with FXS and/or ASD. Linguistic alignment is one measure of pragmatics that reflects commonalities in spoken language between speakers. The present study examined group comparisons in linguistic alignment and associations with ASD-related traits in boys with FXS+ASD, autistic boys, and their mothers. Linguistic alignment was derived from transcripts of conversations between mother-child dyads. Groups did not differ in linguistic alignment. Whereas linguistic alignment was associated with child ASD-related traits in mother-child dyads from the ASD group, it was associated with maternal ASD-related traits in FXS dyads. Findings have implications for the role of linguistic alignment in pragmatic language interventions, particularly in consideration of parent-mediated approaches.


Working memory and its relation to language skills in children with developmental language disorder

            Klara Matiasovitsova; Faculty of Arts, Charles University
            Filip Smolik; Faculty of Arts, Charles University

We examined how sentence imitation is related to language ability (indexed by elicited production and sentence comprehension) and working memory (phonological short-term memory and central executive, examined by nonword repetition and listening span). The target sentences for language tasks included relative clauses and simple sentences with adjectival nominal phrase. Sixty-three Czech children with developmental language disorder (6;5-9;6) and language-matched controls (3;7-6;7) participated. Regression analysis showed that the control children were more proficient in sentence imitation, that the relative clauses were more difficult, and that the number of errors decreased with better scores in listening span, nonword repetition, and sentence comprehension in both groups. The effect of elicited production on sentence imitation was stronger in the typically developing children. Overall, the results indicate that sentence imitation measures language skills and it also reflects the phonological and working memory.


The Development of Morphosyntax and Vocabulary in Bahamian Creole English Speaking Preschoolers

            Simone Bellot; Syracuse University
            Stephanie McMillen; Syracuse University

Morphosyntactic features of Bahamian Creole English (BCE), a natural language in The Bahamas, have been evaluated in adult language; however, we lack information on typical BCE morphosyntactic development in children. This study evaluated typical morphosyntactic development in BCE-speaking children ages 3-5 years old. Children’s development of BCE morphosyntactic features were evaluated using three different language sampling tasks: a 10-minute play-based conversation, a story retell using the wordless picture book Frog Goes to Dinner, and a story tell using the School-age Language Assessment Measures (SLAM) cards. Descriptively, preschool-aged children are producing some, but not all, of the BCE morphemes identified in adult speakers’ productions. Results also showed that the type of language sample task administered matters, as the number and types of morphosyntactic features children produced differed by task type. Specifically, children produced the most BCE morphemes during the conversational language sample. The findings of this study have implications for guiding culturally-sensitive practices. Funding for this study was awarded to the first author by the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Excellence.


The Role of Cognitive Skills in Children’s Statistical Learning Outcomes

            Heidi Mettler; University of Arizona
            Mary Alt; University of Arizona

High variability around a learning target facilitates children’s learning outcomes in language interventions informed by principles of statistical learning. However, not all children show positive outcomes to these interventions. Attention and working memory are posited to underlie statistical learning, but the extent to which they contribute to outcomes in high variability statistical learning paradigms is unknown. The current study uses a correlational design to examine the extent to which attention and working memory contribute to children’s learning outcomes in a high variability, statistical learning paradigm. Participants are 5- to 6-year-old children. Computer-based experimental tasks measure their attention, working memory, and statistical learning abilities. Multiple linear regression is used to determine the extent to which attention and working memory predict learner outcomes on the high variability, statistical learning task. Results may have implications for whether these cognitive skills should be considered in the development and optimization of high variability, statistical learning-based language interventions.

This project is partially funded by a University of Arizona Graduate & Professional Student Council Research and Project (ReaP) Grant.


The Complex Syntax Vocabulary of Five-Year-Old Children with and without Specific Language Impairment

            Ian Morton; California State University, Los Angeles
            C. Melanie Schuele; Vanderbilt University
            Jennifer Maldonado Marquez; California State University, Los Angeles
            Sky Arteaga; California State University, Los Angeles

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been shown to have deficits in complex syntax (CS) production. However, further research is needed to develop a full picture of the complex syntax produced by children with SLI. For example, children with SLI may have difficulty acquiring vocabulary that supports complex syntax production.  In our study, we analyzed later-appearing complement-taking verbs (CTVs), such as decide and wonder, and later-appearing subordinate conjunctions (SCs), such as unless and after. We compared the later-appearing CTVs and SCs produced by five-year-old children with SLI (n = 11) to the later-appearing CTVs and SCs produced by same-aged peers with typical language development (n = 11). Our findings suggest that five-year-old children with SLI produce a lower proportion of later-appearing CTVs in their spontaneous spoken language than same-aged peers. However, children with SLI did not produce a lower proportion of later-appearing SCs than same-aged peers. We then explored the clinical implications of these findings. The study was supported by a Preparation of Leadership Personnel grant from the US Department of Education (H325D140087).


Predictive strength of AEP-age across language outcomes: An exploratory quantile regression study

            Theresa Pham; University of Western Ontario
            Alyssa Janes; University of Western Ontario
            Elaine Kwok; Northwestern University
            Janis Cardy; University of Western Ontario

Recent work is establishing that auditory cortical maturation (or AEP-age) is a predictor of language. We extend these findings by using quantile regression to address the question of “How well does AEP-age predict language outcomes for children who have below-average, average, and above-average language scores?” while avoiding creating arbitrary subgroups. Although linear regression results indicated AEP-age as a predictor of language skills on average, quantile regression analyses provided more precise estimates of the relation. After controlling for chronological age, AEP-age was uniquely and strongly related to overall language and receptive language for children with lower language – weak and average abilities – than higher language. AEP-age did not predict expressive language across the quantiles. Beyond relying on average effects estimated from linear regression, quantile regression can advance our understanding of the role of auditory maturation across a spectrum of language outcomes.

This research was supported by separate Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant to Janis Oram Cardy and to Lisa M. D. Archibald.


Sentence recall accuracy at the limits of young adult word spans: Contributions of metacognitive judgments and sentence conditions

            Olivia Schoenherr; Miami University
            Gerard Poll; Miami University
            Carol Miller; The Pennsylvania State University

 Sentence repetition is a useful diagnostic task for developmental language disorder (DLD) but current tasks are insufficiently accurate for adults. Prior work indicates that participant differences may be revealed when memoranda are at the limit of examinee capacity, when examinees feel uncertain about their recall accuracy. To identify sentences that challenge adults at the limits of their capacity, we asked participants to repeat sentences and judge their recall accuracy. Sentences were 8-16 words, 1-3 clauses in active or passive structures, controlled for word frequency and plausibility. Number of words (?2(1) = 42, p < .001) and judgments of accuracy  (?2(1) = 177.7, p < .001) predicted repetition accuracy, but number of clauses and structure did not. Variability in judgements of accuracy peaked at sentences with 11 words, and beyond 11 words, recall accuracy precipitously declined. The lack of recall accuracy difference by active versus passive structure was unexpected. Sentences centered on 11 words may approach adults’ capacity limit for recall, eliciting more uncertainty regarding the accuracy of their performance.  Funding provided by Miami University.


Caregivers’ Perceptions of COVID-19 Educational Disruptions on Children with Developmental Language Disorder and Typically Developing Peers

            Katharine Radville; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Danika Pfeiffer; Towson University
            KaRynn Sheranian; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Julie Wolter; University of Montana
            Jessie Ricketts;  Royal Holloway University of London
            Tiffany Hogan; MGH Institute of Health Professions

The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread educational disruptions across the United States, particularly for children with disabilities. Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) and their families saw drastic changes to educational supports during the rapid pivot to virtual learning. This qualitative study examined the experiences of caregivers of first- and second-grade children with DLD and of typically developing children during educational disruptions. We gathered written responses to open-ended survey questions regarding impacts on the child’s education, language learning, literacy learning, and the family in general. We conducted separate thematic analyses by group. Themes for both groups included concerns about literacy learning and social-emotional well-being. Also, caregivers described learning about their child during remote learning. Caregivers of typically developing children described facilitators and child resilience despite adverse circumstances, whereas caregivers of children with DLD described remote learning as inherently problematic. Findings are discussed in terms of practical implications for supporting families of children with DLD during pandemic recovery and beyond.


An examination of mediators of socioeconomic status effects on literacy, language, and emotion competencies

            M. Adelaida Restrepo; University of South Florida
            Scott Marley; Arizona State University
            Lauren Van Huisstede; Arizona State University
            Melissa Pierce; Midwestern University
            Katie Bernstein; Arizona State University
            Michael Kelley; Arizona State University

This study examined mediators of home literacy environment (HLE) on children's literacy, language, and emotional knowledge. We sample 540 children from classrooms participating in a larger, drama-based instruction study. We examined whether an indirect pathway between SES (family income-to-needs ratio) and child literacy, language, and emotion competencies could be established through HLE (number of books in home) and children’s storytime behavior (interest, embodiment, emotional response). A structural equation model was estimated, with Narrative Language Measure, Bilingual English Spanish Assessment, and Emotion Matching Task regressed on child behavior during reading, regressed on HLE, regressed on with SES. Model fit was good. Results demonstrate a significant indirect pathway from SES through the number of books and child interest during reading to language development and emotional knowledge. Contrary to our theoretical expectations, embodied behavior during book reading was not associated with the language or emotional knowledge outcomes.

 This work was supported by a Department of Education Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination grant [grant number U351D1800962].


The Efficacy of Story Champs for Improving Oral Language in Third Grade Spanish-English Bilingual Students with Developmental Language Disorder

            R.J. Risueño; Arizona State University
            Shelley Gray; Arizona State University
            Savannah Romeo; Arizona State University

Narrative language interventions have shown promise for improving the oral language of children with developmental language disorder (DLD). The oral narratives of children with DLD tend to include fewer story grammar elements and more grammatical errors than their peers with typical development (TD). Story Champs (Spencer & Petersen, 2016) has shown positive effects in improving story grammar and grammatical complexity within a multitiered system of support framework for preschool and kindergarten students at-risk for language difficulties (Petersen et al, 2022) and mixed effects in improving story grammar within personal narratives of second grade students with DLD (Hessling & Schuele, 2020). We implemented a multiple baselines across participants single case design to investigate the effects of Story Champs on the story grammar and grammatical complexity of third graders within story retells and personal narratives. Participants showed mixed effects across dependent variables within both contexts. Results suggest that Story Champs may be beneficial in improving oral language in third grade students with DLD, but students’ performance varies widely. 

Funding: Office of Special Education Programs, ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association


Identifying the executive functions that contribute to performance on the WCST by children with DLD.

            Annika Schafer; MGH Institute of Health Professions
            Yael Arbel; MGH Institute of Health Professions

The aim of this work is to identify executive function(s) in children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) that contribute to their impaired performance on a Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST), a task aimed at measuring shifting.  DLD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that has a high co-occurrence with impaired executive function (EF) abilities. However, the exact range of EF impairments associated with DLD remains unclear. The WCST is a complex EF task that can help elucidate the effect of and interaction between EFs on performance in children with DLD. 

This work includes preliminary data from 19 participants between the age of 8 and 12 (9 DLD; 10 TD). Their scores on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – 2nd Edition (BRIEF-2) and the computerized WCST will be the subject of a correlation analysis to determine the contribution of EF measures to WCST performance.

Implications: This study will shed light on the executive functions of children with DLD and the relationship between direct (WCST) and indirect (BRIEF-2) EF measuring tools.

This work is funded by NIH NIDCD Grant R01DC018295


Interactions among Chronic Stress, Statistical Learning, and Language Outcomes

            Sara Steele; Saint Louis University
            Tony Buchanan; Saint Louis University
            Margo Appenzeller; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Adam Bosen; Boys Town National Research Hospital
            Christopher Conway; Boys Town National Research Hospital

Chronic stress negatively impacts the development of brain regions that underlie language development. A potential mediating factor against this negative impact is a child’s statistical learning, the ability to detect and encode patterns in environmental input. The purpose of this study was to identify how variations in statistical learning interact with chronic stress exposure to impact spoken language outcomes. Monolingual children with typical language development age 6- to 8- years old completed tasks of verbal and visual statistical learning, along with spoken language measures collected via standardized tests and language sample analysis. Parents completed a survey on their socioeconomic status and an adverse life events questionnaire as a subjective measure of chronic stress. Correlational analysis and multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship among stress, statistical learning, and spoken language. We hypothesize that higher reports of chronic stress will be associated with lower lexical diversity and syntactic complexity, though stronger statistical learning will modulate this effect. Project funded by the Applied Health Sciences Research Grant Program, Saint Louis University.


Acoustic and Pragmatic Properties of Adult Simplified Speech Used in Autism Intervention

            Jennifer Johnson; Michigan State University
            Zac Hesse; Michigan State University
            Emily Lorang; Michigan State University
            Courtney Venker; Michigan State University

Rationale. Autism interventions commonly recommend that adults produce shortened and/or telegraphic (i.e., ungrammatical) utterances. We lack a clear understanding of the acoustic properties of simplified utterances and the pragmatic contexts in which they are used. This gap in knowledge prevents us from studying the effects of simplified input in an ecologically valid way. Here, we asked: what are the acoustic and pragmatic properties of simplified adult utterances used in autism intervention?

Methods. We analyzed audio samples from an online repository of naturalistic, developmental, behavioral intervention video clips. Using Praat, we examined telegraphic adult utterances and semantically related grammatical or single-word utterances.

Results. Most telegraphic utterances contained no distinct pauses. Findings suggested that adults lengthened content words to varying degrees regardless of utterance type. Adults used telegraphic utterances across pragmatic contexts—particularly when giving directives.

Conclusions. Understanding the acoustic and pragmatic properties of telegraphic utterances will maximize the ecological validity of studies designed to determine how simplified input affects language processing and word learning children on the autism spectrum.

Funding sources: NIH R21 DC016102 (Venker, PI); NIH R01 DC020165 (Venker, PI).


Dual language profiles in Spanish-English bilingual children with and without DLD

            Danyang Wang; University of California - Irvine
            Pumpki L. Su; University of Texas - Dallas
            Joseph Hin Yan Lam; University of California - Irvine
            Stephanie McMillen; Syracuse University
            Aquiles Iglesias; University of Delaware
            Lisa Bedore; Temple University
            Elizabeth D. Peña; University of California - Irvine

This study aims to examine different language profiles in Spanish-English bilingual children with and without DLD. Data included 529 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. 88 of these children were identified as having DLD based on converging evidence considering indicators of language impairment. A latent profile analysis was conducted based on children’s morphosyntax and semantics performance in Spanish and English. The optimal model identified five profiles in this group of children, showing the heterogeneity of bilingual language performance. There was one balanced language and low morphosyntax profile, one Spanish dominant and low morphosyntax profile, two English dominant profiles, and one balanced language and balanced domain profile. Children with DLD were primarily classified in the two profiles with low morphosyntax performance, aligning with the claim that morphosyntax is the hallmark clinical marker associated with DLD. Additionally, the majority of the five-year-old children were classified in the Spanish dominant group, which could reflect their greater home language exposure prior to entering elementary school. 

Funding sources: R21HD053223 (Peña) , R01DC007439 (Peña), R01DC010366 (Peña).


Using language samples to identify developmental language disorder in 5-6-year-olds: look at the errors

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

Language sample analysis (LSA) provides speech-language pathologists with a functional assessment of children’s communication skills in a natural setting. One disadvantage of LSA has been the lack of psychometric data for various measures and platforms. This study examined the diagnostic accuracy of LSA measures as a function of four common reference standards for developmental language disorder (DLD). Measures from 50-utterance play-based conversational language samples collected on K-1st grade children (n = 85) with DLD and children with typical language (TL) drawn from a community-based sample were analyzed using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcription (SALT), Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised (SUGAR), and a finite verb morphology composite (FVMC). ROC curve analysis indicated omissions and errors, percent grammatical utterances, and FVMC showed the highest diagnostic accuracy. Overall, LSA measures aligned the most with the CELF-4 reference standard and the least with receiving services. With further refinement, measures that examine errors from short language samples could help confirm DLD status in 5-6-year-old children. Funding source: NIDCD R01DC011023.


An alternative scoring method to reduce bias in nonword repetition for bilingual children

            Eugene Wong; University of Minnesota
            Kerry Ebert; University of Minnesota

Nonword repetition tasks have been proposed as a measure to identify developmental language disorder in diverse populations. However, previous studies have shown that bilingual children who speak a non-English language at home might be penalized for production errors influenced by their first language. The current study explores the properties of an alternative scoring system that accounts for the influence of the first language. Ten  typically-developing Mandarin-English bilingual children completed a nonword repetition task as well as a battery of additional language assessments. We created an alternative scoring system based on errors predicted by the influence of Mandarin phonology. We then compared properties of the original and the alternative scoring systems, including the relations between nonword repetition task score and other factors (including age, home language exposure and standardized test performances) as well as the score distributions within this group of typically-developing children. Results show that most phonemic errors can be predicted by L1 and the alternative scoring system minimizes the relationship between home language exposure and nonword repetition task score. However, possible ceiling effects represent a disadvantage.