Effective Intervention for Expressive Grammar


It’s Research Tuesday! This week is all about grammar. I am up to my knees in grammar goals. Pluralization. Past tense. Present progressive. Pronouns. Possessives. It’s raining grammar in Alaska, folks…and I needed some guidance. Where better to get guidance than research. I didn’t get all that schoolin’ for nothin’ (excuse my grammar, ha!)

Article: Smith-Lock, K.M., Leitao, S., Lambert, L., & NIckels, L. (2013) Effective intervention for expressive grammar in children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 48(3), 265-282. [Open Access|

grammar treatment

Useful content and strategies I can apply tomorrow:

  • Narratives without appropriate grammar decrease timing and reference points to link characters to the story line. (I can use this statement in explanation of IEP present levels/evaluation write-ups)
  • Utilize a specific grammar screener to determine potential treatment targets such as possessive “s”, past tense, present tense, and pronouns. Within the article, they pilot tested the screener on a group of typically developing same-age children for comparison.
  • Focused stimulation, recasting, and imitation are all efficacious treatment techniques for grammar interventions

The article discusses a treatment group compared to a control group which received a typical, comprehension based instruction group. The treatment group was involved in play-based activities that allowed for increased modeling.  Below is a sampling of the intervention technique utilized and explained in the article.

  1. Direction instruction – clear explanation of grammar usage (“we use the word “she” when talking about a girl”
    • Use a slight vocal emphasis on target word/endings
  2. If client makes errors, allow to repeat and self-correct. If incorrect, SLP models correct response aka “recast”
  3. Allow another opportunity for correct response. If still wrong, re-state correct production and say “you say that”. After correct utterance, SLP says “yes” and models one more time.

In the Appendix, there is a sample treatment plan with example activities. The results reported are based on pre-and post- treatment results on one specific grammar skill. Skills that were not directly targeted did not show carryover or generalization from treated skills.

The key to the success of targeted  grammar skills  using this approach, compared to others, is repeated modeling, allowance of child re-producing targets, and instant feedback from SLP. The outcomes of this research may not generalize to every child with speech-language difficulties, but it’s another tool in  my toolbox.

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About SLP_Echo

I am a Speech-Language Pathologist completing my Clinical Fellowship in Alaska.

Posted on April 8, 2014, in #slp2b, Research Tuesday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Super Duper just released the Grammar Processing Program. This starts from the very beginning of how kids receptively understand grammar..all the way to the real complex . I also use it expressively and send home sections for home practice. It makes a HUGE difference and quicker than any drill work in the past. EVEn better- Sandy McKinnis- Alaska’s very own- is the author:)

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