Research has shown that children with language impairment (LI) exhibit difficulties with both social communication and syntax. This study analyzed the effect of a social communication intervention on syntactic development, focusing on grammatical complexity in three children with LI when enacting stories. The intervention included reading and enacting stories, playing games with picture emotion cards and journaling. Each child's mean length of terminal unit (t-unit), the number and type of subordinate clauses they produced per t-unit, and the grammaticality of their complex sentences was analyzed. While none of the children increased their mean length of t-unit or the grammaticality of their sentences, one participant showed a slight increase in the number of subordinate clauses she used and another participant changed the basic format with which she enacted stories to a more mature format. The results of this study did not support the claim that a single intervention could target both social communicative and syntactic goals simultaneously. There were limitations to this study that, if addressed, could potentially support this claim.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wheeler, Alyse, "The Influence of a Social Communication Intervention on the Syntactic Complexity of Three Children with Language Impairment" (2016). All Theses and Dissertations. 5874.
language impairment, syntactic complexity, grammatical complexity, social communication, intervention, school-age children