Submitted Oral Presentations

Session One: Thursday, May 30 from 3:30 – 5:00 PM

Topic: Intervention


Efficacy of complexity-based target selection for treating morphosyntactic deficits in children with DLD and children with Down syndrome

Kirsten Hannig Russell; Brigham Young University

Current approaches for selecting morphosyntactic treatment targets result in only modest progress despite a large investment of time by stakeholders. This study investigated the impact of selecting a morphosyntactic treatment target using the complexity approach for school-aged children with DLD and school-aged children with Down syndrome (DS) in the context of a multiple baseline design across participants (n = 6). The aims were to determine if this approach would (1) result in acquisition of the treated, complex morphosyntactic structure, (2) result in improvements to untreated, related yet simpler morphosyntactic structures without direct treatment, and (3) provide information about whether etiology of language disorder may have impacted treatment responses of participants. Positive treatment effects were observed for two participants with DLD and one participant with DS and generalization to untreated forms was observed. Observed patterns indicated similar responses to treatment across both etiological groups. Outcomes offer preliminary support for a complexity-based approach to selecting morphosyntactic treatment targets for children with language disorders from different etiologies.

Funding source: Unfunded.


The Intricate Relationship Between Receptive Language, Conversational Turns, Vocabulary Size in Children with Developmental Disabilities Using AAC

Syrina Merilan; Georgia State University
Rose Sevcik; Georgia State University
Maryann Romski; Georgia State University

Key factors influencing vocabulary size in children with developmental disabilities using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are initial receptive language and conversation turn count (CTC). This study sought to understand how these factors work together to impact the vocabulary size of children with developmental disabilities at the end of an augmented language intervention. 88 parent-child dyads were randomly assigned to participate in a language intervention using augmented input, augmented output, or a combination of augmented input and output for 12 weeks (24 sessions). A mediation analysis was used to assess whether the relationship between initial receptive language and vocabulary size in session 24 was mediated by total CTC between parent and child. The results indicate that CTC fully mediated the relationship between initial receptive language and vocabulary. In short, receptive language is a pathway to more communicative engagement, which leads to greater vocabulary size in children with developmental disabilities using AAC. The data were sourced from an archival dataset funded by the National Institute of Health Grant DC-03799, and The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences Grant R324A070122.


Increasing Word Learning Efficiency for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children through Retrieval Practice

Jena McDaniel; Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine
Meganne Muir; Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine (Presenter)

Retrieval practice is an empirically validated approach that could improve the acquisition and retention of language skills for deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. However, few studies have evaluated its effects on learning for children broadly and particularly for DHH children. This study aims to evaluate how two key features of retrieval practice (i.e., feedback and spacing) impact efficiency for learning and retaining novel words for young DHH children. We use a single case adapted alternating treatments research design with 5- to 8-year-old DHH children divided across four study contrasts. Acquisition and retention of words expressively and receptively, as well as semantic knowledge (i.e., location), were evaluated via visual analysis and effect sizes. The findings provide support for more efficient learning with feedback than without for acquisition receptively and expressively; however, some results were mixed. Mixed results were observed for the impact of spacing. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the study design and support continued evaluation of the effects of feedback and spacing to optimize learning and retention for individual children.

This project is funded by NIDCD [R21DC020017].

Session Two: Friday, May 31 from 1:30 – 3:00 PM

Topic: Bilingualism/Language in Diverse Populations


Functional Language Proficiency in Bilingual Children: A Translanguaging-Based Conceptual Framework and Measurement Approach

Genesis Arizmendi; University of Arizona

This study introduces a translanguaging-based conceptual framework and measurement approach for assessing Functional Language Proficiency (FLP) in bilinguals. FLP, within a bilingual context, captures a speaker’s skills in using each of their languages in situations that provide them an opportunity to tap into their full communicatory repertoire, prioritizing the practical use of language as it is used in their everyday life. The framework draws upon natural translation theory, translanguaging, and language brokering practices to elevate cultural-linguistic assets in bilingual communities. The framework led to the development of the FLiP task, which acknowledges the dynamic nature of language use in bilingual communities. The feasibility and utility of the FLiP is examined, focusing on 1st to 3rd-grade bilingual Spanish-English children. Results indicate a diverse range of proficiency profiles across both languages, with strong interrater reliability and positive correlations with existing measures. The FLiP task holds promise for measuring FLP, contributing to our understanding of bilingual language development and fostering inclusive practices for the bilingual community.

This work was supported by the Mellon Foundation, Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry, and CAPCSD.


Spanish and English Morphosyntax Changes in Bilingual School-age Children With and Without DLD

Jiali Wang; University of California, Irvine
Joseph Hin Yan Lam; University of California, Irvine
Danyang Wang; University of California, Irvine
Jissel Anaya; Ohio State University
Lisa Bedore; Temple University
Elizabeth Peña; University of California, Irvine

The purpose of the study is to examine bilingual children’s development of different Spanish and English morphosyntax structures over a period of a year. Investigating the relationships of morphosyntax skills longitudinally can improve our understanding of mechanisms of morphosyntax development and variations in different languages. 165 typically developing bilingual children and 34 children with developmental language disorder(DLD) between the ages of 7 and 10 years complete a morphosyntax cloze task in Spanish and English twice with a one-year interval. Cross-lagged analysis was used to examine the relations of morphosyntax skills by difficulty levels. Results indicated that there is a tendency for simple items to predict students’ performance on more difficult items at year two, but there are different patterns of morphosyntax development in Spanish and English. Exposure had effects on certain morphosyntax skills at year two in both languages. The results of the multi-group analysis indicated that most relations were not different for children with and without DLD. The study provides important insights into morphosyntax change in bilingual school-age children in the US.

Funding: R01DC010366 (Peña)


Exploring Grammatical Profiles of Children with Developmental Language Disorders, Down Syndrome, and Intellectual Disabilities in a Morphologically Complex and Rich Language

Selcuk Guven; University of Montreal
Merve Nur Sariyer; Anadolu University

Objectives: This study explores the grammatical characteristics of monolingual Turkish-speaking children with developmental language disorders (DLD), Down syndrome (DS), and intellectual disabilities (ID).

Methods: Language samples were collected from 40 DLD, 13 DS, and 16 ID children, in both play and storytelling contexts. Additionally, their performances in a sentence repetition task were recorded. These groups were compared to a total of 45 typically developing, language-matched children. The % accuracies in different morphological and syntactic structures were calculated, along with an analysis of morphological production diversity. Error patterns were also analyzed to identify specific difficulties.

Analysis & Results: Preliminary findings indicate that all three groups perform significantly lower than their age-matched typically developing peers. Moreover, children with DLD and DS exhibit some similarities in their grammatical profiles, yet they demonstrate distinct error patterns compared to children with ID. Ongoing analysis aims to provide deeper insights into these unique grammatical profiles.

Implications: This research aims to contributes to a deeper understanding of the grammatical challenges faced by children with DLD, DS, and ID in morphologically complex languages like Turkish.

Session Three: Saturday, June 1 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Topic: Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)


Modeling Individual Differences in Children’s Sentence Repetition Ability: A Role for Multiword Linguistic Units

Stewart McCauley; University of Iowa
Si On Yoon; New York University
Philip Combiths; University of Iowa
J. Bruce Tomblin; University of Iowa
Kristi Hendrickson; University of Iowa

Variation in children’s language outcomes is often attributed to independent processing mechanisms, such as working memory. An alternative view emphasizes the importance of learned linguistic units’ quality and granularity, with larger, multi-word patterns or “chunks” playing a key role in development. We explore this latter perspective using a computational model of sentence repetition, a task highly predictive of language outcomes. Focused on capturing sentence repetition data from a longitudinal cohort of over 400 children, our model leverages distributional information to discover multiword sequences or “chunks” from child-directed speech, which are used to bootstrap aspects of comprehension and production. Results indicate that the model’s chunk learning speed aligns with data from the cohort (faster for children with high repetition scores and slower for lower scores). This aligns with the notion that individual differences in sentence repetition may arise from learned linguistic units, challenging the notion that mechanisms like working memory independently dictate outcomes. Theoretical implications extend to developmental language disorders, emphasizing the pivotal role of learned linguistic patterns in shaping language abilities.

Supported by NIH grant R01DC020143 awarded to KH.


Neural deficits in shape and movement perception in school-aged children with developmental language disorder (DLD)

Natalya Kaganovich; Purdue University
Jennifer Schumaker; Purdue University
Emma Gausman; Purdue University
Sharon Christ; Purdue University
Teanna Pounds; Purdue University
Tamar Greenwell; Purdue University

Earlier work in our lab showed that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) struggle to match heard words with silent articulations, which is an essential skill for audiovisual speech perception. We asked whether the above deficit results from a less effective encoding of visual information necessary for successful lip reading.  We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) from a group of school-aged children with DLD (n=14) and their age-matched peers with typical development (TD, n=14) while they watched a cartoon character change its shape, mouth movement, and/or color. Children pressed one button for 1-feature changes (e.g., only movement) and another button for 2-feature changes (e.g., shape and color). The P2 ERP component to shape and movement changes was reduced and delayed in children with DLD compared to children with TD. Furthermore, larger neural responses to 2- vs. 1-feature changes occurred almost 200 ms later in children with DLD. These results suggest that audiovisual speech processing challenges in children with DLD may stem from deficits in the sensory encoding of visual information essential for lip reading. Funded by NIH NIDCD grant R01DC017017.


Cross-domain processing speed in adults with developmental language disorder

Gabriel Cler; University of Washington
Linnea Beasley; University of Washington
Noelle Abbott; San Diego State University/University of California San Diego

Children with DLD demonstrate slower processing speed across linguistic, non-linguistic cognitive, and non-linguistic motor domains, and adults with DLD have reported that they can complete complex language tasks with additional time. We evaluated linguistic and non-linguistic processing speed in adults with DLD. Twenty-four participants (10 DLD, 14 typical language) aged 18-38 completed language tasks and non-verbal IQ measures.

Adults with DLD had significantly lower scores on several language subtests, including story retell, delayed story retell, following directions, and nonword reading. Participants with DLD took significantly longer than the TD group to complete a reading comprehension task despite having similar performance (untimed).

Participants with DLD completed significantly fewer trials on a coding task in the time allotted indicating slower task speed, but completed a block design task to the same performance standard with the same task speed.

Results indicate a possible processing speed deficit in DLD that may be across domains but not completely domain-general (as block design is unaffected). Results are interpreted in light of a neurobiological model of DLD in children that may be extended to adults.

SRCLD LogoSupported in part by: NIDCD and NICHD, NIH, R13 DC001677, Margarita Kaushanskaya and Audra Sterling, Principal Investigators

University of Wisconsin-Madison – Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders