The ITM focusing on digital videos and cueing

Thepurpose of this study was to address the following question: Does aninstructional treatment model, based on digital videos and cueing strategies,improve verb conjugation skills in Puerto Rican preschoolers with specificlanguage impairment? The hypothesis that the ITM would increase correct verbconjugation in three tenses (i.e., past, present and future) given aninstructional treatment model approach based on digital videos and providingcueing strategies was not found to be effective. When3.0-5.0 preschoolers were given an ITM focusing on digital videos and cueingstrategies of the verb conjugation for the three tenses, all participants (3out of 3) met the criterion of 80% correct by session 3, out of a total of tensessions.

Thetreatment was delivered in a frequency of two times per week for a total of tensessions. The intervention protocol targeted the verb conjugation skills forthe three tenses that including digital videos and cueing strategies wasperformed. Participants were provided with prerecorded digital videos, whichpresented the action of the target verb in a randomly selected order for theparticipants expected to identify and conjugate the verb by using a positive ornegative symbol respectively (i.e., positive symbol was used if the participantconjugate the verb in a correct way, if not a negative symbol if not, anegative symbol was used to describe that the verb was not conjugated in thecorrect way). Results indicated that the independent variable was not found to beeffective.Thecomponent that apparently posted the highest challenge for participants in thisstudy involved future tense. Results suggested that, on average, theparticipants demonstrated a low percentage of correct responses in theconjugation of the future tense.

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Accordingly, the clinician had to provideadditional cues to achieved in more abundant comparison with past and presenttenses such as, “What’s this?”, “What’s happening here?”, “What do you thinkthe child will going to do here?” and “Here the child is walking, What it isgoing to do here.” Verbillustration should hold a more challenging representation and present a clearconcept of future. Additionally, the participant should be able to interpretthe concept, using either flash cards or videos.

Thepurpose of this investigation was to identify effectiveness of a specific modelin order to effectively addressed the conjugation of the verb in Spanishspeaking preschoolers with SLI. Previous research in this area has pointed outthatindiviuals with SLI  may be at riskof presenting deficiencies in the use and conjugation of the verbs (Rice &  Bode, 1993). Rice and Bode (1993) suggestedthat children with SLI have a limited number of verbs in their vocabularies.The literature supports the notion that verbs are particularly critical for thedevelopment of syntactic length and complexity because verbs provide a framethrough which larger linguistic forms are constructed (Tomassello,1992).

Hence,verbs have been the focus of many studies pertaining to children with languageimpairment. Difficulties  with verbs interms of verb morphology are considered one of the hallmarks of SLI (Bedore& Leonard, 1998).Ithas been suggested that language intervention should focus on increasing theuse of the verb already known by the child to be used in different contexts(Dollaghan, 2007). In the Riches, Faragher, and Conti-Ramsden (2005) study,where researchers examined the effect and frequency of verb learning inchildren with SLI, treatment involved teaching fourth nonsense verbs in playactivities, where presentation of verbs were manipulated by frequency andspacing. Results indicated no difference in overall rate of learning betweenboth groups of children.

However,comprehension was more accurate when verbs were presented more frequently andspaced apart for the SLI group. Also, Riches et al. (2006) explored whetherchildren with SLI are able to use unfamiliar and novel verbs that are trainedin a syntactic context. Results indicated that there was no generalization ofthe use of transitive forms to novel verbs, and that children with SLI requiredmore frequent input before learning the verb. Theintervention used in this investigation may serve as a framework to supportindividuals with SLI who exhibit specific deficit in verb conjugation skills aswell as individuals at risk of developing difficulties in morphological skills.

In this study, preschoolers were selected to determine if participants wouldrespond to an ITM based on digital component and cueing strategies wherepreviously they had shown difficulties to conjugate correctly the verbaccording to the tense, as evidenced from the screener administered at thebeginning of the study.The inclusion of a digital component was chosen becausethere is previous research where the use of a digital component is documentedas a treatment strategy for interventions where children have difficulties withthe use and conjugation verbs (Schlosser, Shane, Koul, Bloomfield &Debrowski, 2012).Manystudies have beenconducted on effectiveness of treatment for verbal conjugation.However, most of these studies have used monolingual English speakers. There islimited research on treatment approaches pertaining to verb conjugation inmonolingual Spanish speakers with SLI as used in this study.  Limitations of StudyAlthoughthe A-B design does not permit a functional analysis of behavior, it mayprovide a convincing demonstration that behavior change is not a function ofthe passage of time (Gast & Ledford, 2014). The A-B design provides aframework within which behavior can be objectively measured under clearly describedand controlled environmental conditions (Gast & Ledford, 2014).

Inaddition, as it is typical in single subject designs, the number ofparticipants tends to be limited, as each participant serve as their owncontrol. Although three participants are an acceptable number in single subjectstudies, this same factor tends to be pose a limitation for the generalizationof the results. Generalization of results is limited to the population targetedin this study, more specifically pertaining to a school setting.

Additionalinclusion criteria for this study included that participants had to be enrolledin a school setting where they did not receive a bilingual i.e.,(Spanish-English) instruction. Further research using a larger population ofpreschoolers including a wider age range and school settings could increasegeneralization of the findings. Another factor which can increasegeneralizability of this study is the use of groups of monolingual Spanishspeaking participants from diverse Spanish dialects (e.g., Cuban, Dominican andMexican).

Future DirectionsThereare several directions for future research that requires the attention of thefield. For example, there is a need of replicate this study with a greateramount of stimuli sets of verbs pertaining test the external validity (i.e.,generalizability) of the results beyond the stimuli that were used in thisstudy. Further research addressing the conjugation of the verb of variousSpanish dialects in monolingual Spanish speakers will provide a broaderevidence base in order to determine if ITM including digital component andcueing strategies approach is appropriate to increase verb conjugation.Previous research findings revealed that stronger resemblance between symboland referent helps symbol learning (Fuller, 1997).

Therefore, the use ofidentification of the verb in a receptive task as an outcome, in order to showswhether a child can observe a relation between a spoken word and a graphicstimuli (i.e., flash cards) would be an interesting consideration for a futurestudy.

Oneimportant element of this study is the frequency of the intervention. Thisstudy was aimed at a frequency of twice-weekly treatment for a 30-minutesessions. Therefore, one consideration for future research could beimplementing an intensive treatment frequency, in which the subjects canparticipate in the therapy more times per week resulting in a duration of lessweeks of treatment.Anotherpossibility would be to replicate this study with children who exhibitdevelopmental disabilities such as intellectual disabilities. Finally, thisstudy takes into consideration the use of verbs that are familiar in thechildren repertoire. It would be interesting to replicate this study with verbsthat are unfamiliar to the children. However, it is important to note thatthere are other components that have to be included to the intervention to makeit more significant. First, a greater amount of stimuli must be added for eachtreatment session.

Instead of working with two verbs per session, this dosageit could be increased between six to eight stimuli per session. Likewise, thenumber of attempts can be increased by giving the participant moreopportunities to identify the correct conjugation of the verb. Furtherstudies comparing monolingual Spanish speaking preschoolers with SLI who exhibita deficit in the conjugation of the verb and havereceived this model, with participantswho did not received this model should also be considered.  SocialImportance Researchin the area of morphology suggests that children with SLI exhibit deficit inmany areas of language. However, verb conjugation and grammar aspects areparticularly affected (Ebbels, 2007). According to the National Institute ofHealth (2011) SLI is one of the most common learning disabilities amongchildren enroll in kindergarten and affect approximately seven  to eitgh percent of children in kindergarten.Although the reported percentage does not seem to be very elevated, there is  evidence suggesting persisting languageimpairment may have severe effects on both children’s educational achievementsand social adjustment (Clegg, Hollis, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2005). For thereasons previously mentioned, preschoolers are a population that can benefitfrom interventions that facilitate the acquisition of skills related to themorphology and verb conjugation at an early age in order to prevent that thesedifficulties become more significant.

Researchsuggests that verbs play a notably important part in language learning and usesince the conceptual roles specified by verbs, may provide a framework fororganizing other word class members in to appropriate linguistics expressions (Conti-Ramsden, & Jones, 1997). ITM may serve as asystem that could be replicated using other components to work with childrenwho may exhibit difficulties in the areas of morphology specifically verbconjugation. Thefindings from this study may help in determining if the use of an instructionaltreatment model based on digital videos and cueing strategies is appropriateand can be an effective service delivery model to use with Spanish speakingpopulation who exhibit deficiencies in verbal morphology. Due to the lack ofinformation regarding treatment for verbal conjugation in monolingual Spanish languagespeakers, another area of possible social and linguistic impact is to be ableto take this study as a reference to be implemented to children who have beenidentified with a similar diagnosis and whose native language be anotherdialect of Spanish (Dominican, Cuban, and Mexican). ConclusionInconclusion, this study provides preliminary findings regarding an interventionapproach to SLI based on digital videos and cueing strategies for theconjugation of the verb in Spanish speaking preschoolers with SLI. Results didnot reveal an impact for the three participants that took part in this study.However, this investigation supports the notion that children with SLI requiremore frequent presentations of stimuli to generalize the target verb. Outcomesof this study indicates a continuous need for research in the areas ofmorphology and conjugation of the verb with Spanish speaking populationspecifically with Puerto Rican dialect.

Hence, more treatment strategies inthis area should be examined in order to generate more evidence based practiceregarding this area. Also, future research is needed to determine the efficacyof this type of treatment.    


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