Five Additional Evidence-Based Principles to Facilitate Grammar Development for Children With Developmental Language Disorder

Lizbeth H. Finestack, Elizabeth Ancel, Hae Ji Lee, Kirstin Kuchler, Miriam Kornelis

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Purpose: Because the development of grammatical forms is difficult for many children with developmental language disorder (DLD), language interventions often focus on supporting children's use of grammatical language. This article proposes five additional principles to those suggested by Fey et al. (2003) to facilitate the development of grammatical forms by children with DLD. Three of the five additional principles address the selection and presentation of linguistic contexts to be used with target grammatical forms (Principles 11-13); two principles encourage the incorporation of additional intervention components: auditory bombardment and explicit instruction (Principles 14 and 15, respectively). Method: We present empirical evidence and, when available, describe the theoretical motivations to support each of the five additional principles. We then describe how we have integrated the five principles into 20- to 30-min intervention sessions that target regular past tense –ed, third-person singular –s, present progressive is/are verb+ing,or do/does questions for 4- to 8-year-olds with DLD. Each session includes four activities: sentence imitation, story retell, structured play, and auditory bombardment. We provide details of each activity, relevant materials, and illustrative examples that highlight the incorporation of each of the principles. Results: When targeting the development of grammatical forms in intervention, current evidence supports the use of a high degree of linguistic variability (Principle 11), the presentation of target forms in contexts that vary in difficulty (Principle 12), the presentation of target forms in sentences that vary in syntactic structure (Principle 13), the use of auditory bombardment (Principle 14), and the incorporation of explicit instruction (Principle 15). Clinicians can use these principles when targeting a range of grammatical forms in relatively short intervention sessions comprising a variety of activities. Conclusions: This article encourages the employment of five additional principles into grammatical language intervention. Descriptions, materials, and examples demonstrate how the principles can all be addressed within a single intervention session.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-563
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024

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