Language Sampling for Preschoolers With Severe Speech Impairments Purpose The purposes of this investigation were to determine if measures such as mean length of utterance (MLU) and percentage of comprehensible words can be derived reliably from language samples of children with severe speech impairments and if such measures correlate with tools that measure constructs assumed to be related. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2016
Language Sampling for Preschoolers With Severe Speech Impairments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cathy Binger
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Jamie Ragsdale
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Aimee Bustos
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Cathy Binger: cbinger@unm.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Lynn Williams
    Associate Editor: Lynn Williams×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2016
Language Sampling for Preschoolers With Severe Speech Impairments
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2016, Vol. 25, 493-507. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0100
History: Received July 8, 2015 , Revised October 8, 2015 , Accepted December 17, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2016, Vol. 25, 493-507. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0100
History: Received July 8, 2015; Revised October 8, 2015; Accepted December 17, 2015

Purpose The purposes of this investigation were to determine if measures such as mean length of utterance (MLU) and percentage of comprehensible words can be derived reliably from language samples of children with severe speech impairments and if such measures correlate with tools that measure constructs assumed to be related.

Method Language samples of 15 preschoolers with severe speech impairments (but receptive language within normal limits) were transcribed independently by 2 transcribers. Nonparametric statistics were used to determine which measures, if any, could be transcribed reliably and to determine if correlations existed between language sample measures and standardized measures of speech, language, and cognition.

Results Reliable measures were extracted from the majority of the language samples, including MLU in words, mean number of syllables per utterance, and percentage of comprehensible words. Language sample comprehensibility measures were correlated with a single word comprehensibility task. Also, language sample MLUs and mean length of the participants' 3 longest sentences from the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventory (Fenson et al., 2006) were correlated.

Conclusion Language sampling, given certain modifications, may be used for some 3-to 5-year-old children with normal receptive language who have severe speech impairments to provide reliable expressive language and comprehensibility information.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by NIH Grant 1R03DC011610, awarded to the first author. A portion of this project served as a McNair Scholars research project for the second author. The authors thank Katherine Hustad for providing the initial inspiration for this project, Philip Dale and Amy Neel for assistance with early drafts of this article, Merissa Ekman for serving as our diligent second transcriber, and Lindsay Mansfield, Aimee Bustos, Esther Babej, Nathan Bickley, Bryan Ho, and Raleigh Kyablue for additional assistance.
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