The recent literature on language intervention has become increasingly focused upon developing treatments that more closely parallel normal language acquisition. However, there have been relatively few reports that directly compare imitative procedures to conversational-interactive interventions. The purpose of the present study was to compare the relative effectiveness of imitative intervention and conversational recast language intervention applied to a wide range of grammatical morpheme and complex sentence targets in 21 children with specific language impairment. The results indicated that although both kinds of treatments were effective in triggering acquisition of most targets, consistently fewer presentations to first spontaneous use were required in the conversational procedure. In addition, the transition from elicited production to generalized spontaneous production was more rapid under conversation-interactive treatment. Finally, although imitation treatment was more effective in generating elicited production, a significantly greater number of spontaneous productions occurred under the conversational training procedures. The theoretical and applied ramifications of these findings are discussed.
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