Should We Use Telegraphic or Grammatical Input in the Early Stages of Language Development With Children Who Have Language Impairments? A Meta-Analysis of the Research and Expert Opinion PurposeIn working with children with language impairments, some clinical scholars and clinicians advocate using input that is simplified to the point of being ungrammatical (telegraphic input), while others advocate simplified but grammatical input. This article considers 2 types of external evidence on this topic.MethodFirst, a meta-analysis of relevant research, including ... Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   February 2010
Should We Use Telegraphic or Grammatical Input in the Early Stages of Language Development With Children Who Have Language Impairments? A Meta-Analysis of the Research and Expert Opinion
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy Louise Schwarz
    University of Texas at Dallas
  • Marc Fey
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
  • Ann Kaiser
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Jon Miller
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Elaine Weitzman
    The Hanen Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Contact author: Anne van Kleeck, University of Texas at Dallas, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, 1966 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX 75235-7298. E-mail: annevk@utdallas.edu.
  • © 2010 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   February 2010
Should We Use Telegraphic or Grammatical Input in the Early Stages of Language Development With Children Who Have Language Impairments? A Meta-Analysis of the Research and Expert Opinion
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2010, Vol. 19, 3-21. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/08-0075)
History: Received October 13, 2008 , Revised March 13, 2009 , Accepted July 7, 2009
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2010, Vol. 19, 3-21. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/08-0075)
History: Received October 13, 2008; Revised March 13, 2009; Accepted July 7, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

PurposeIn working with children with language impairments, some clinical scholars and clinicians advocate using input that is simplified to the point of being ungrammatical (telegraphic input), while others advocate simplified but grammatical input. This article considers 2 types of external evidence on this topic.

MethodFirst, a meta-analysis of relevant research, including intervention studies and processing studies, is reported. Next, 4 experts present their opinions.

ResultsChildren in the majority of the intervention studies showed no difference in language comprehension based on type of input, although 1 study with very few children favored telegraphic input for language production. In the processing studies, which measured immediate comprehension, children from clinical populations responded inconsistently when listening to the 2 types of input. Children who had typical language, however, favored grammatical input in their responses. Regarding the experts' opinions, 2 suggest that telegraphic input is sometimes warranted; 1, who previously indirectly promoted its occasional use, no longer believes it should be used; and 1 provides reasons why telegraphic input should not be used and may even be harmful.

ConclusionsEmpirical findings and expert views are summarized as ways of informing parents of the weak evidence base regarding the best type of input.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank Dr. Hervé Abdi for his assistance in verifying aspects of an early draft of the statistical analysis, Dr. Chris Dollaghan for discussions concerning meta-analysis, Kathryn Self for acting as a judge for interjudge reliability, and Dr. Allen Clayton, the Callier Center librarian.
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