Schools Practice: New Research and Online Resources Children with brain injury show marked plasticity for language learning, but limitations may be apparent in complex language tasks such as narrative production. University of Chicago researchers studied 31 children (average age 6), 11 with brain injuries and 20 without. The children were asked to create an original story ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   September 01, 2010
Schools Practice: New Research and Online Resources
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School-Based Settings / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   September 01, 2010
Schools Practice: New Research and Online Resources
The ASHA Leader, September 2010, Vol. 15, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.15112010.20
The ASHA Leader, September 2010, Vol. 15, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.15112010.20
Storytelling and Brain Injury
Children with brain injury show marked plasticity for language learning, but limitations may be apparent in complex language tasks such as narrative production. University of Chicago researchers studied 31 children (average age 6), 11 with brain injuries and 20 without. The children were asked to create an original story in response to a story stem (e.g., “Once there was a little boy named Alan who had many different kinds of toys”). The children’s narratives were analyzed for length, diversity of vocabulary, complex syntax, and narrative structure.
The children with brain injury produced shorter stories, used less diverse vocabulary, and made fewer inferences about the cognitive states of the story characters than typical peers. The differences in narratives emerged even though the children with brain injury did not differ from typical peers on measures of vocabulary and syntax.
The study by Ozelm Demir and colleagues is published in the July 2010 issue of Developmental Science.
SLI Affects Math Knowledge
Although children with specific language impairment (SLI) do not show impairments across all mathematical domains, they may show a weakness in their understanding of mathematical equivalence problems (i.e., equations with addends on both sides), according to a study by Elina Mainela-Arnold and colleagues in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (Papers in Press).
The researchers assessed 34 children—nine with expressive SLI (E-SLI), eight with expressive and receptive SLI (ER-SLI), and 17 age-matched children with typical development—using the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, which includes addition and mathematical equivalence problems. The children’s problem-solving strategies for these items were revealed in their solutions as well as in their verbal and gestural explanations.
Overall, the children with SLI showed delays in their knowledge of mathematical equivalence and were less accurate in solving addition and equivalence problems compared with their peers with typical development. The children with ER-SLI showed greater delays, and none of the children in this group solved the equivalence problems correctly.
Children in the ER-SLI tended to express incorrect strategies for solving the equivalence problems in both gesture and speech, whereas children in the E-SLI group often expressed correct strategies in gestures—but not speech. This finding suggests that for children with E-SLI, knowledge is represented in a nonverbal format.
SLI and Close Relationships in Adolescents
Engagement in close friendships and romantic relationships becomes particularly significant in adolescence, but specific language impairment (SLI) may affect some teens’ level of emotional engagement, according to a study by Ruth Wadman and colleagues published in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (Papers in Press).
Researchers examined the influence of language, behavioral, and social variables on the level of emotional engagement experienced by adolescents with and without SLI.
Two groups of 16- and 17-year old adolescents (90 with SLI and 91 with typical language abilities) completed two assessment sessions. The group with SLI had significantly lower emotional engagement scores than the group with typical language abilities. Almost a quarter of adolescents with a history of SLI were classified as having poor emotional engagement in close relationships based upon their responses to a seven-item self-report questionnaire, compared to only 2% of the adolescents with typical language abilities. A regression analysis found language ability, prosocial behavior, and shyness were concurrently predictive of emotional engagement level in close relationships.
Telehealth Assessment of Language
Less than 4% of Australia’s speech-language pathologists work in rural or remote areas that are home to 34% of the population. Additional barriers to pediatric speech-language pathology services include long distances, costs of accessing services, long waiting lists, reduced service choices, and a lack of public transportation.
To overcome these barriers, Australian researchers conducted a study to validate a custom-built Internet-based telehealth system that uses real-time videoconferencing to assess childhood language disorders using a standardized assessment, the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF®, fourth edition). The researchers administered the CELF Core Language subtests to 25 children ages 5–9 using an online or face-to-face SLP, but the assessment was rated simultaneously by both SLPs.
No significant difference was found in the scores on the CELF-4 Core Language subtests obtained by an online and a face-to-face SLP, and good agreement was found between the two ratings on all measures.
The high inter- and intra-rater reliability for the online assessments supports the feasibility of using this Internet-based telehealth system for assessing children’s language. The research by Monique Waite and colleagues appears in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (Papers in Press).
Speech-Language Pathology
ASHA’s webpage for school-based speech-language pathologists includes links to a number of resources. The site includes information on a variety of journals, policy documents, and topics, including the following:
Policy Documents
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in the Schools

  • Workload Analysis Approach for Establishing Speech-Language Caseload Standards in the Schools

  • Swallowing and Feeding Services in Schools

  • Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Life Span

Advocacy
  • Budget cuts: Maintaining speech-language pathology and audiology services in schools

General Information
Individualized Education Programs, caseload/workload, dysphagia, autism, response-to-intervention, and salaries (including salary supplements)
Laws/Regulations
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004

  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

  • Credentials comparison chart:КNational Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and ASHA-CCC

  • State teacher requirements for speech-language pathology and audiology

Publications
  • Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in SchoolsК(ASHA journal)

  • Access Schools (e-newsletter)

  • Perspectives on School-Based Issues (Division 16 newsletter)

Schools-Related Groups
  • Special Interest Division 16, School-Based Issues

  • School-based practitioners’ input group

Educational Audiology
ASHA’s webpage for school-based audiologists includes links to a number of resources. The site includes links to journals, general information, and policy documents on many topics, including the following:
Policy Documents
Some of the relevant practice policy documents include:
  • Fitting and Monitoring FM Systems (2002)

  • Amplification as a Remediation Technique for Children With Normal Peripheral Hearing

  • Audiologic/Aural Rehabilitation

  • Guidelines for Audiologic Screening

  • Acoustics in Educational Settings: Position Statement and Technical Report

  • Guidelines for Addressing Acoustics in Educational Settings

  • Appropriate School Facilities for Students With Speech-Language-Hearing Disorders

Surveys
  • ASHA audiology survey reports

  • Educational audiology survey report 2007

General Information
Advocacy (school funding), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and education, classroom acoustics, IDEA website, school-based services for students with cochlear implants
Publications
  • ASHA Access Audiology e-newsletter

  • Perspectives newsletters from the following special interest divisions: 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics; 7, Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation; 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations; 16, School-Based Issues

Other Useful Links
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September 2010
Volume 15, Issue 11