A number of studies appearing in the recent literature examined the effectiveness of treating language impairments using indirect, conversationally based interventions. However, such studies have been difficult to interpret, due, in part, to a lack of direct comparisons of treatment types. The present study was designed to compare directly elicited imitation treatment and conversational treatment using linguistic targets matched for structural stage and assigned randomly to treatment condition. These treatments were applied to four specifically language-impaired children (age range 4;9 to 5;11) during a 16-week training period. Spontaneous productions occurred following significantly fewer presentations within the conversational treatment. Additionally, the results indicated that both kinds of treatments were effective and that certain individual targets were acquired more rapidly within the elicited imitation treatment. These findings are discussed in terms of the differing approaches to treatment and in terms of more general theories of language learning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing