Schools: Research Trends Speech-language treatment has been shown to be more effective when delivered by speech-language pathologists or speech-language pathology assistants, rather than school staff, according to a study recently published in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. In the United Kingdom, speech-language treatment previously was delivered by speech-language pathologists ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   August 01, 2011
Schools: Research Trends
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School-Based Settings / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   August 01, 2011
Schools: Research Trends
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 22. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.16102011.22
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 22. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.16102011.22
Indirect Language Treatment in Public Schools
Speech-language treatment has been shown to be more effective when delivered by speech-language pathologists or speech-language pathology assistants, rather than school staff, according to a study recently published in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.
In the United Kingdom, speech-language treatment previously was delivered by speech-language pathologists or speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) on a predetermined schedule to children individually or in groups. This service delivery model is no longer the most common in UK schools, prompting the current study to determine whether treatment was equally effective when delivered to comparable children by school staff (a so-called “consultancy” approach), rather than by SLPs or SLPAs.
A manualized language treatment, developed via a randomized controlled trial, had proved efficacious in the short-term in developing expressive language for mainstream primary school children with language impairments. In this cohort study, children selected using the same criteria as in the randomized controlled trial were given the same manualized treatment—but delivered by mainstream school staff.
The gains in expressive language measured in the randomized controlled trial were not replicated in the cohort study. The study suggests that the treatment is delivered more effectively by SLPs or SLPAs to children individually or in groups than by school staff. Researchers speculate the differences may be related to more faithful adherence to the intervention schedule and more language-learning activity. For more information, see the full report online.
Language Gains for Bilingual Preschoolers
A monolingual clinician can promote gains in a bilingual child’s home and school languages through creative collaborations with bilingual colleagues and the use of technology, according to a paper in press in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools .
In this single-subject experiment, researchers examined treatment outcomes in both languages of a bilingual preschooler, who exhibited moderate to severe language impairment, to compare English-only (EO) and bilingual (BI) approaches to receptive vocabulary treatment. The participant was a 3-year, 11-month-old boy learning Vietnamese as a first language at home and English in his early childhood education program. Treatment was implemented by an English-only interventionist using a computer interface and pre-recorded audio files in Vietnamese and English. Dependent measures were percentage of items correctly identified in each language.
Combined studies revealed that the BI approach increased the child’s attention to task and was as effective as the EO approach at increasing receptive vocabulary in English. Receptive vocabulary gains were evident in both Vietnamese and English.
The study’s results suggest that it is feasible for a monolingual clinician to promote gains in both languages of a bilingual child through creative collaborations with bilingual colleagues and the use of technology. The researchers recommend replication of their results with additional participants and treatment activities. Search doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0073).
Short-Term Word Learning With Digital Noise Reduction
For older children with hearing loss, digital noise reduction may improve word-learning in noisy conditions, according to a recent study. The study, in press in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , was designed to determine the rate of word-learning for children with hearing loss (HL) in quiet and in noise compared to normal-hearing (NH) peers. The researchers examined the effects of digital noise reduction in the children with HL.
Forty-one children with NH and 26 children with HL were grouped by age (8–9 and 11–12 years). The children learned novel words associated with novel objects through a process of trial and error. Functions relating performance across trials were calculated for each child in each listening condition and compared.
Significant effects were observed for age (older>younger) in the children with NH and listening condition (quiet>noise) for the children with HL. Across conditions and age groups, children with HL required more trials to learn the new words.
However, word-learning improved significantly in noise with the use of DNR for the older—but not for the younger—children with HL. Hearing aid history and signal-to-noise ratio did not contribute to performance. Search doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0341).
Resources

There is a wealth of online resources for school-based speech-language pathologists available on ASHA’s schools webpage: policy documents, information on individualized education programs, information on laws and regulations, and more. Educational audiologists can visit ASHA’s webpage for school-based audiologists for policy documents, surveys, publications, and other useful online resources.

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August 2011
Volume 16, Issue 10