HESP 616 Child Language Disorders


Fall 2014

Nan Bernstein Ratner (0141G Lefrak, 405-4217)

Office hours: by appointment

Overview and learning outcomes:

This course provides the knowledge and skills required to assess and remediate language impairments in children from the pre-linguistic level through grade12. Content will include current literature concerning pertinent issues involved in understanding language impairment, assessment, and intervention, instruction in language sample collection and analysis, and the critical review skills required to assess the value and application of emerging practices in this area. This course is designed to meet the requirements of ASHA Knowledge Standards III-B Normal Processes; III-C Communication Disorders; and III-D Clinical Application in the area of Receptive Expressive Language. In addition, secondary experiences are provided for the same Knowledge Standards in the areas of typical language, cognitive and social development. These knowledge and skills areas include:

(1) To identify the characteristics associated with language impairment, as well as the nature of specific language impairment (Basic Concepts -Receptive/Expressive Language, Social);

(2) To be able to apply of the theories of language development to understanding, assessing, and treating children with language impairment (Basic Concepts, Assessment, Presence of Disorders, Treatment, Receptive/Expressive Language, Cognition, Social);

(3) To display knowledge of the methods of assessing language abilities, interpreting assessment data, developing goals and objectives, and determine appropriate measures for efficacy for language intervention (Analysis and Integration, Presence of Disorder-Receptive/Expressive Language, Cognition, and Social);

(4) To be able to demonstrate the various approaches to language intervention, as well as service delivery models (Treatment ? Receptive/Expressive Language, Social)

(5) To become knowledgeable about the role of family involvement when working with children with language impairment; (Basic Concepts ? Receptive/Expressive Language and Social)

Course text and supporting materials:

There is a primary text for this course: Paul, R. & Newbury, C. (2012). Language disorders from infancy through adolescence (4th ed). St. Louis: Elsevier. There are prior versions of the text; however, the current edition has the most extensive and updated reference information. This text should serve you well both during and after the class, and was chosen to be a major reference text for your professional collection.

In addition, there are a few individual article/chapter readings, and some manualized instruction pertinent to your language sample analysis assignment. All of these readings will be posted to Canvas. Finally, it is difficult to treat childhood language disorders if you don’t remember or didn’t master typical profiles of development. For this reason, we will have one lecture to review typical profiles of language development in children. As background reading for this lecture, and for your permanent reference, I have provided a full pdf copy of the latest edition of Language Development (Berko Gleason & Bernstein Ratner (BG&BR), 2012) for your personal use. You may maintain this series of pdfs for your personal use indefinitely, but please do not share them with others without my explicit permission.

Schedule of topics and readings (please note that the web site is still being updated and not all readings and lecture notes will be available until later in September):

Sept 4Introduction to course, overview of assignments, expectations; definitions and models of language disorders

Read: Chapter 9 in BG&BR – an overview of childhood language impairments

Sept 11 Review of typical development;

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapter 1. TAKE THE QUIZ. Each week, you must complete an open-book quiz on the text readings BEFORE you come to class, for a total of

BG & BR (I know you can’t read it all; please browse the test bank posted to see how much you remember from your UG class)

Sept 18Finish typical development

Read, Paul & Norbury, Chapters 2, 5 and TAKE THE QUIZ.

Sept 25Principles of EBP; issues in a pluralistic society; prelinguistic intervention

Paul & Norbury, Chapters 3, 6


Oct 2Assessment and treatment of emerging language; language sampling concepts and practice

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapter 7; Heilman, J. (2010) Myths and realities of language sample analysis. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 17, 1-37.

Oct 9 Assessment/intervention of developing language

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapters 8, 9

Oct 16Special populations: Part 1

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapter 4

Language sample analysis due (see additional information for this project)

Oct 23Special populations: Part 2 – children with ASD: establishing language and communication – Vivian Sisskin guest lecturer

Oct30School-based Speech-language pathology and child language disorders:

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapters 10, 11

Nov 6Specific Interventions for developing language:

Report due: Specific interventions (see more information separately)

Nov 13Later and advanced language: assessment & intervention

Read: Paul & Norbury, Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14

Nov 20ASHA – PodCast class, TBA

Nov 27Thanksgiving, no class

Dec 4Verbal Children with ASD (Sisskin)

Dec 11Children who are bilingual, LEP

Report due: meta- analysis of interventions

Dec 18 Finalexamination, during typical class time

Assignments and weighting for this class:

1)10 multiple choice quizzes, to be taken BEFORE class each week (starting with week 2), for a cumulative total of 30% of your grade. These exams are open-book.

Why do I ask you to do these quizzes? This is a class about evidence-based instruction/therapy. We now know that assessment improves learning. It also certainly improves your responsibility to keep up with the reading. If you do these short quizzes each week, I can cover more material in class, spend more time in discussion, and in general, be sure that you learn more.

2)You will be asked to perform a language sample analysis for two children, using the CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) utilities (which include CHAT transcription and CLAN analysis), which are free for download at Together with SALT, these two programs are the major utilities for analysis of spontaneous language data. We will review how to do this assignment in class. Each of these is worth 10 pts (10%) for a total of 20% of your term grade. You must submit:

The printed sample (s) that you have coded;

A print-out of KidEval results (KidEval is a program that produces more than a dozen summary statistics on the child’s sample)

An analysis of any errors, or structures missing that should be evident for the child’s age;

Any additional analyses that are of interest to you;

A one page summary analysis of the child’s language skills and potential needs, as you would for a diagnostic report. Please decide if the child is functioning within normal limits, or requires additional testing and/or services.

I will supply audio samples; however, if you wish to use a child client with whom you are currently working or have been assigned for Diagnostics, you may do this, with my permission.

Also include your comparison of the lexical, morphological and syntactic analyses – how consistent is the child’s performance across these areas? Is it possible that you would miss something if you did only one of these assessments?

3)TWO Evidence-based treatment reports (an individual study report and a meta-analysis report): (30 pts/30%) SEE SEPARATE PAGE FOR DETAILS. THERE IS A RUBRIC FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.

4)A final exam (20 pts); this will be a combination of short answer, fairly objective “factoid” questions of the sort that the Praxis likes to ask, and short essay questions that test integration/application of such information.

Statement on Academic Integrity

1)The University of Maryland has a strict academic integrity policy that makes cheating, fabrication, or misrepresentation of work as your own by graduate students sanctionable by dismissal from your graduate program;

2)You are entering a professional field that has well-articulated ethical guidelines;

3)I have been the Chair of the University’s Student Conduct Committee, which oversees the campus implementation of its academic integrity policy, on and off, since before most of you were born. Therefore:

  1. Please do not: collaborate on assignments meant to teach you skills we think you need to master, such as the language sample analysis;
  2. Please do be sure to use your own words in writing your evidence-based therapy critiques/analyses;
  3. And other seemingly obvious stuff. If you have questions about permissible academic behavior in this class or any others in HESP, please feel free to ask me.

Statement on Reasonable Accommodations for individual learning or religious needs:

If you require any accommodation to course requirements or scheduling, please try to see me as soon as possible. Please be aware that the University is only obligated to make reasonable accommodations for those students whose disabilities or learning needs have been verified by our campus Disability Support Services (DSS). The fall semester is also characterized by a number of religious observances. The schedule has been designed to avoid testing or due dates on major religious dates recognized by the campus. If you must miss class for any reason, including religious observance, you are still responsible for content, and for arranging submission of materials within an acceptable time frame (please see me if I have scheduled anything that will be problematic for you). I will be trying to record all lectures for posting to our Canvas site. You may also record lectures for your personal use, or arrange to have a fellow student do that, in case you fear that I will mess up a recording, which does happen infrequently , as survivors of HESP 300 may know.


You are also expected to analyze and write up information on treatment approaches in child language disorders.

This will be done in two formats: individual/specific treatment reports, and findings from meta-analyses or systematic reviews of treatment approaches.

a)You will select a specific treatment approach/topic from a list that I will provide (again, if you find a treatment concept of more specific interest to you, you may ask to substitute it). The general format for the individual written paper is:

  1. Title and source of article (s) (in APA format) and background/purpose of intervention study;
  2. Concise and tangible explanation of therapy technique (may be supplemented by a sample lesson plan to illustrate how the technique works in practice); provide a sample goal and activities;
  3. Discussion of documented effectiveness – how strong is the evidence base for thepublished report of the program’s effectiveness?
  4. Are there particular clients for whom this approach is best suited? Not well-suited? What further information might improve the evidence basis for this treatment approach?

REPORTS WILL BE UPLOADED TO CANVAS; WE WILL DISTRIBUTE COPIES FOR REFERENCE TO ALL STUDENTS IN THE CLASS. Rubric for reports of therapeutic approaches (15% each; single therapies/meta-analysis, for a total of 30%):

Summary of intervention philosophy and rationale / Minimal Performance
Provides summary but omits important details / Good Performance
Provides adequate summary, including at least one important detail to describe author’s point of view / Excellent
Provides accurate summary, clearly portraying author’s point of view/perspective
Tangible explanation of tx approach / Provides general information on how to implement tx / Provides details on therapy approach and implementation / Provides details of two or more sample implementations of approach.
Evidentiary support for approach / Provides a general summary of data that support the approach / Clearly articulates strength of outcome data for approach given in article / Provides detailed support for approach using data from other studies using same or similar tx approach
Personal evaluation / Statement of endorsement/non-endorsement without specific rationale / +/- endorsement with explanation derived from analysis of study rationale & findings / +/- endorsement with explanation that combines study with other peer-reviewed literature or discussion of qualitative limitations of approach or analysis
Writing Conventions & APA format / numerous errors in spelling, proof-reading or APA conventions / Relatively few errors / Virtually no errors & uses APA format

b)Reports of meta-analyses/systematic review of therapy approaches. Each student will select a meta-analysis or systematic review of an intervention topic. (Again, if you desire to report a meta-analysis or systematic review topic not on the list, please see me). THESE WILL ALSO BE UPLOADED AND MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL STUDENTS.

Template for Evaluating Meta-analyses of Intervention Approaches

Your topic: ______

Did you find a meta-analysis___ or systematic review ___ on this topic? Or other synthesis? ___ Please discuss any problems that you had in locating materials for this project:

Title of Article:______

Authors: ______

Journal and Publication Date: ______

Linguistic/other targeted behavior: ______

Definition of outcome success:

Intervention (general approach with specifics of implementation): ______

Criteria for inclusion in analysis:

Number of studies evaluated:

Conclusion of study authors:

Strengths/weaknesses of meta-analysis or its conclusions

To be sure that a variety of topics are studied for each of these reports, each person will have to select different topics or articles. During the second or third week of class, I will ask each student to hand me an index card with their first 5 choices, in order. I will attempt to distribute topics to your mutual interest areas.

General Topic list for specific intervention reports: Please get your article approved by and enter under threaded discussion on web site so as not to duplicate coverage.

1)Emerging language in specific populations: autism, hearing impairment

2)Morphological development in SLI

3)Vocabulary building/word finding in SLI

4)Pragmatic/Social language in older children with ASD

5)Auditory-based interventions (e.g., FastforWord, Earobics, etc.)

6)Parent-administered and “indirect” interventions

7)Paragmatics or other contextualized interventions

8)Pre-literacy/emergent literacy interventions (e.g., phonological awareness, others)

Topic list for meta-analysis/systematic analysis reports:Please have your article approved and enter on threaded discussion so as not to duplicate coverage. This list includes:

1)Therapies to increase communication ASD in toddlers/emergent language

2)Intervention for morphology/syntax in SLI

3)Use of AAC in supporting language development in children

4)Parent-administered/facilitated interventions (including Hanen)

5)Auditory skills-based therapies (e.g., FastforWord, Earobics, others) for SLI

6)Social/pragmatic intervention for LLD, ASD, HFA, AS

7)Emergent literacyPhonological awareness in at risk populations

8)Therapies specifically aimed at older students

Some potential resources to get you started on the meta-analysis/systematic review project:

For reference on how to evaluate reports:

Hargrove, P., Lund, B., & Griffer, M. (2005). A guideline for applying systematic reviews to child language intervention. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 26(4), 226-235.

Potential articles:

Adesope, O. O., Lavin, T., Thompson, T., & Ungerleider, C. (2011). Pedagogical strategies for teaching literacy to ESL immigrant students: a meta-analysis. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(Pt 4), 629-653.

Becheikh, N., Ziam, S., Idrissi, O., Castonguay, Y., & Landry, R. (2010). How to improve knowledge transfer strategies and practices in education? Answers from a systematic literature review. Research in Higher Education Journal, 7, 1-21.

Bellini, S., & Akullian, J. (2007). A meta-analysis of video modeling and video self-modeling interventions for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Exceptional Children, 73(3), 264-287.

Bellis, T. J., Chermak, G. D., Weihing, J., Musiek, F. E., Nippold, M., & Schwarz, I. (2012). Efficacy of auditory interventions for Central Auditory Processing Disorder: A response to Fey et al. (2011). Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools, 43(3), 381-386.

Butler, C. C., Van Der Linden, M. K., H. L.Macmillan, M. K., & Van Der Woude, J. C. (2003). Should children be screened to undergo early treatment for otitis media with effusion? A systematic review of randomized trials. Child: Care, Health & Development, 29(6), 425-432.

Cable, A. L., & Domsch, C. (2011). Systematic review of the literature on the treatment of children with late language emergence. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 46(2), 138-154.

Cirrin, F. M., & Gillam, R. B. (2008). Language intervention practices for school-age children with spoken language disorders: a systematic review. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39(1), S110-S137.

Cirrin, F. M., Schooling, T. L., Nelson, N. W., Diehl, S. F., Flynn, P. F., Staskowski, M., et al. (2010). Evidence-based systematic review: effects of different service delivery models on communication outcomes for elementary school-age children. Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools, 41(3), 233-264.

Desmarais, C., Sylvestre, A., Meyer, F., Bairati, I., & Rouleau, N. (2008). Systematic review of the literature on characteristics of late-talking toddlers. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 43(4), 361-389.

Edmonds, M. S., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Reutebuch, C., Cable, A., Tackett, K. K., et al. (2009). A synthesis of reading interventions and effects on reading comprehension outcomes for older struggling readers. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 262-300.

Fey, M. E., Kamhi, A. G., Richard, G. J., Nippold, M., & Schwarz, I. (2012). Auditory training for children with Auditory Processing Disorder and Language Impairment: A response to Bellis, Chermak, Weihing, and Musiek. Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools, 43(3), 387-392.

Fey, M. E., Richard, G. J., Geffner, D., Kamhi, A. G., Medwetsky, L., Paul, D., et al. (2011). Auditory processing disorder and auditory/language interventions: An evidence-based systematic review. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 42(3), 246-264.

Flippin, M., & Crais, E. R. (2011). The need for more effective father involvement in early autism intervention: A systematic review and recommendations. Journal of Early Intervention, 33(1), 24-50.

Flippin, M., Reszka, S., & Watson, L. R. (2010). Effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system (PECS) on communication and speech for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(2), 178-195.

Gajria, M., Jitendra, A. K., Sood, S., & Sacks, G. (2007). Improving comprehension of expository text in students with LD: a research synthesis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(3), 210-225.