A DEMONSTRATION OF THE VARIABILITY PRINCIPLE IN A THERAPEUTIC CONTEXT

picture of Anne Marie Lieser presenting his/her poster: A DEMONSTRATION OF THE VARIABILITY PRINCIPLE IN A THERAPEUTIC CONTEXT

Anne Marie Lieser , Jessica Aguilar, Rebecca Burton, Natalie Dailey, Christina Meyers, Trianna Oglivie, Elena Plante, Rebecca Vance

A DEMONSTRATION OF THE VARIABILITY PRINCIPLE IN A THERAPEUTIC CONTEXT

Specific language impairment (SLI) is a biologically-based disorder that affects children’s learning of language skills.  Although it is the most common developmental disorder, more evidence-based practice is needed to improve efficiency and efficacy of language intervention for children with SLI.  We tested the hypothesis that greater variability in the language input to these children would result in better learning of their grammatical targets.  Eighteen preschool age children with SLI participated in a six-week summer-camp program in which they received daily individual therapy.   Children were assigned to one of two treatment conditions to address grammatical morpheme errors (e.g., omission of past tense –ed, misuse of pronouns).  In every session, children either heard their target with 24 unique verbs or 12 unique verbs heard twice per session. There was significantly greater learning of the grammatical targets for the children hearing 24 unique verbs per session compared to those who heard 12 unique verbs twice per session.  This demonstrates that higher input variability is more effective than low input variability and can make language intervention more effective and efficient.  This project was funded by NIH R01DC004726-S1 and HHMI 52006942.

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