Nonwords and Generalization in Children With Phonological Disorders Purpose To evaluate the effects of using nonword (NW) stimuli in treatment of children with phonological disorders relative to real words (RWs). Methods Production data from 60 children were examined retrospectively. Thirty of the participants were previously treated on sounds in error using NWs, and the other 30 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2010
Nonwords and Generalization in Children With Phonological Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith A. Gierut
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Michele L. Morrisette
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Suzanne M. Ziemer
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Contact author: Judith A. Gierut, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002. E-mail: gierut@indiana.edu.
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2010
Nonwords and Generalization in Children With Phonological Disorders
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 167-177. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0020)
History: Received March 10, 2009 , Accepted December 28, 2009
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 167-177. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0020)
History: Received March 10, 2009; Accepted December 28, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose To evaluate the effects of using nonword (NW) stimuli in treatment of children with phonological disorders relative to real words (RWs).

Methods Production data from 60 children were examined retrospectively. Thirty of the participants were previously treated on sounds in error using NWs, and the other 30 had been treated using RWs. Generalization was the dependent variable, with measurement of accurate production of treated and untreated sounds immediately posttreatment and longitudinally following the withdrawal of treatment.

Results Under both stimulus conditions, and at both sampling points in time, there was greater generalization to treated sounds compared with untreated. NWs, as opposed to RWs, induced greater, more rapid systemwide generalization as a function of treatment. Children exposed to NWs sustained those levels of performance even after treatment was withdrawn. Children exposed to RWs eventually reached comparable levels of phonological generalization, but not until 55 days after the cessation of treatment.

Conclusion The findings support the ecological validity of NWs in phonological treatment. The differential results hint that NWs may benefit treatment efficacy and efficiency, but this remains to be determined through prospective study. Consideration is given to a potential theoretical account of the NW effects, with appeal to the literature on novel word learning.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant DC001694 to Indiana University, Bloomington. We are grateful to Holly Storkel and Dan Dinnsen for their input throughout the project and also thank our students and research assistants of the Learnability Project for their various contributions to data management and analysis.
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