A comparison of lexical interventions on early grammatical development : does an emphasis on verbs matter?
Murphy, Jamie M.
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According to the current definition of Specific Language Impairment (SLI), the transition to word combinations can be a troublesome period for children with this impairment. The purpose of this study is to reveal if an emphasis on verbs during intervention really makes a difference in children's progress in language intervention. By examining two types of intervention - one a traditional lexicon therapy without an explicit focus on verbs, the other an intervention that included an explicit focus on facilitating the verb lexicon - this study highlights how intervention with verbs may foster a child's ability to produce word combinations. Two children at risk for SLI were followed longitudinally in this study. Measures included the number of verbs in expressive vocabulary per parent report, the number of verbs produced in two 20 minute language samples, unique syntactic types, and the number of productive semantic relations. In this case, it appears that a verb-focused approach was more successful in facilitating the transition to early sentences. The implications of verb-focused intervention services are discussed.