Using emprical benchmarks to assess the effects of a parent-implemented language intervention for children with language impairments
Roberts, Megan York
The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which a parent-implemented language intervention, Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT), improved expressive and receptive language skills in children at risk for persistent language impairments as compared to a group of typically developing children. Participants included three groups of children between 24 and 36 months of age: (a) a control group of children with language impairments who did not receive EMT (n=18), (b) a treatment group of children with language impairments who received EMT (n=16), and (c) a group of children with typical language development (n=28). Participants in the EMT treatment group received 24, 1-hour sessions of intervention, bi-weekly for three months. Sessions occurred individually in the home and clinic. Participants in the control and normative groups did not receive any intervention but were assessed at the same times as children in the treatment group. Parental linguistic input and language-learning support strategies were measured across all three groups. Standardized, norm-referenced child assessments, as well as observational measures, were used to assess changes in children’s language growth over time. Results indicate that children in the EMT treatment group made greater gains than children in the control group on most language measures. While children in the EMT group had lower language scores than children with typical language following intervention, the rate of language growth was not significantly different between groups. Children in the control group had lower language scores than children with typical language at post testing and their language growth was significantly slower than typical children. Child receptive language and parent use of matched turns predicted expressive language growth in both children with and without language impairments. Directions for future research and implications for practice are discussed.