First Advisor

Rhea Paul

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Language disorders -- In infancy and childhood -- Longitudinal studies, Language acquisition -- Longitudinal studies, Children -- Language -- Testing



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 68 p.)


Children who are identified with slow expressive language development (SELD) around the age of two are producing less than fifty intelligible words or no two word phrases. Current research suggests that some children with SELD outgrow their delay while others continue to develop long term language difficulties. The literature shows varied findings of short term recovery but long term deficits, and shifts in the specific expressive language deficits ~s the child with SELD matures and encounters increased language demands. Suggestions are found for a mix of monitoring and early intervention, in step with signs of readiness and dynamic assessments, to facilitate improved performance and hasten development, particularly in the areas of metalinguistics and narratives. This study attempted to support the recommendation of early intervention, particularly for those children with an initial greater severity levels of expressive communication delay at the age of two. The 24 male and seven female SELD subjects were part of the Portland Language Development Project, a longitudinal study. Intake was at two years, and placement in the Intervention (Rx) or No Intervention (No Rx) group was a result of follow-up information gathered from parents regarding enrollment in any early intervention services before the age of four: Using mean Developmental Sentence Scores (DSS) for four outcome points, 1-tests determined that no significant differences existed in the improvement of language production between the Rx and No Rx groups. Secondly, 1-tests showed no significant differences in the two group's initial severity levels, using the Expressive Communication sub-domain of the Vine~and Adaptive Behavior Scale (V ABS), as the measure of severity at intake. A non-significant trend of consistently higher actual mean DSS scores across all outcome points, and an actual lower mean Expressive Communication score on the V ABS at intake was noted for the Rx group. A significant difference was found in the mean intake ages of the two groups, with older toddlers falling into the Rx group. Research and clinical_ implications are discussed, including attention to the length, type and content of very early intervention services, effective initial and follow up assessments, and factors that favor recommending early intervention


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