And more...

In case you were wondering, the theme of the month is: OMG how were there so many studies published this month?!

  • In a study of over 1200 families in poor rural regions, Burchinal et al. confirmed the presence of a large gap in school readiness skills among low SES children that emerges during the first five years of life. Specifically, children who experienced poverty before the age of two had more significant delays on their language, cognitive, social, and executive functioning skills by 2–3 years of age. Self-regulation and executive functioning skills played an important role in school readiness at age 5. Check out the original article for a more in-depth analysis of the relationship between poverty & school readiness.

  • Byrd et al. found that a 5-day intensive camp program that focused on social-emotional topics and desensitization toward stuttering (and NOT on increasing fluency), improved the attitudes of school-age children who stutter toward communication and their perceived ability to make friends.

  • Diepeveen et al. provided data to support the growing body of evidence that suggests that children with DLD (and cognitive scores within normal limits, so SLI) also frequently exhibit motor deficits. The motor skills of two groups of 253 four-to-eleven-year-olds—half with, and half without SLI—were evaluated. Results suggested that the SLI group demonstrated delays in three of the seven motor milestones, with particular deficits noted in fine motor development.

  • Denmark et al. found that deaf children with ASD produced fewer facial actions (such as widening eyes or furrowing/raising eyebrows intensely) needed to produce emotion signs like “demand” and “mischief” when retelling a story, compared to their typically-developing deaf peers. The study addresses the research gap related to how emotion processing and theory of mind affect this population’s ability to use facial actions when signing. 

  • Finestack & Satterlund surveyed over 300 pediatric SLPs about their typical grammar interventions. SLPs reported using evidence-based procedures such as modeling, recasting, requesting imitation, and explicit instruction. Their progress monitoring was evidence based as well, consisting of observation and language sampling. Many SLPs reported using TTR (type-token ratio) to measure progress, which is not evidence based and has been found to be ineffective. More research is needed to determine which goal attack strategies (the sequence in which you address goals) are evidence-based.

  • Lim and Charlop found that speaking a child’s heritage language during play-based intervention sessions seemed to help four bilingual children with ASD play in more functional and interactive ways. The experimenters followed scripts for giving play instructions, verbal praise, and making comments related to play in both English and each child’s heritage language (in this study, Korean or Spanish). None of the children played functionally or interactively before the intervention, but all of the children showed an increase in play during and after intervention sessions in both English and the heritage language, with more impressive gains seen in heritage language sessions. More research is needed, but SLPs should keep this in mind when working with bilingual children with ASD. 

  • If you’ve been wondering if standardized language assessments would ever transition to iPads, we may be heading that way. Marble-Flint et al. found that for children with ASD, there was no significant difference in performance between iPad and typical paper tests for the PPVT. This was true as long as the iPad format did not have any interactive features (sounds effects, visuals). 

  • Children who receive cochlear implants (CIs) often have morphosyntactic and vocabulary skills are somewhat delayed, but their phonological awareness skills are often significantly delayed. In a longitudinal study, Nittrouer et al. found that this pattern persists until at least 6th grade. Two intervention methods significantly predicted better language outcomes: bimodal stimulation and literacy acquisition/instruction.  

  • Swaminathan & Farquharson asked 575 school-based SLPs whether they used an RTI (“Response to Intervention”) model with children with speech sounds disorders (SSD). SLPs with smaller caseloads were more likely to use RTI, even though those with larger caseloads could potentially benefit the most from the model. They also found a lot of inconsistency in how RTI was interpreted and used. If you’re questioning using this model, the article does a nice job of RTI applied to SSD! 

  • van den Bedem et al. found that children with developmental language disorder are at high risk for depressive symptoms. The worse the child’s communication skills, the more inclined the child was to use maladaptive strategies. On a positive note, children with DLD respond just as well to emotion regulation strategies as children without DLD. Learning and utilizing adaptive emotion regulation strategies with our kids with DLD could help them cope with their everyday stress.

  • Vessoyan et al. analyzed case studies of four girls with Rett Syndrome (9–15 years old) who used eye-tracking technology to communicate. In all cases, the technology (with ongoing support) helped the girls work toward their individual communication goals, and parents reported both psychosocial benefits and satisfaction with the technology and services.

  • Werfel found that preschoolers with hearing loss 1) had lower MLUm and 2) were less accurate in using Brown’s morphemes when compared to age-matched peers with normal hearing. The author suggests monitoring the morphosyntax development of preschool children with hearing loss.


Burchinal, M., Carr, R.C., Vernon-Feagans, L.V., Blair, C., Cox, M. (2018). Depth, persistence, and timing of poverty and the development of school readiness skills in rural low-income regions: Results from the family life project. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 45, 115–130.

Byrd, C. T., Gkalitsiou, Z., Werle, D., & Coalson, G. A. (2018). Exploring the Effectiveness of an Intensive Treatment Program for School-Age Children Who Stutter, Camp Dream. Speak. Live.: A Follow-up Study. Seminars in Speech and Language. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1670669

Diepeveen, F. B., van Dommelen, P., Oudesluys-Murphy, A., & Verkerk, P. (2018). Children with specific language impairment are more likely to reach motor milestones late. Child: Care, Health, and Development, 44(6), 857–862. 

Denmark, T., Atkinson, J., Campbell, R., & Swettenham, J. (2018). Signing with the face: Emotional expression in narrative production in deaf children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3756-x

Finestack, L.H., & Satterlund, K.E. (2018). Current practice of child grammar intervention: A survey of speech-language pathologists. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0168

Lim, N. & Charlop, M. H. (2018). Effects of English versus heritage language on play in bilingually exposed children with autism spectrum disorder. Behavioral Interventions. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/bin.1644

Marble-Flint, K.J., Strattman, K.H., & Schommer-Aikins, M.A. (2018). Comparing iPad and paper assessments for children with ASD: An initial study. Communication Disorders Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2011.644579.

Nittrouer, S., Miur, M., Tietgens, K., Moberly, A.C., & Lowenstein, J.H. (2018). Development of phonological, lexical, and syntactic abilities in children with cochlear implants across the elementary grades. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-18-0047.

Swaminathan, D., & Farquharson, K. (2018). Using Response to Intervention for Speech Sound Disorders: Exploring Practice Characteristics and Geographical Differences. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 3(SIG 16), 53–66.

van den Bedem, N. P., Dockrell, J.E., van Alphen, P.M., de Rooji, M., Samson, A.C., Harjunen, E.L., & Rieffe, C. (2018). Depressive symptoms and emotion regulation strategies in children with and without developmental language disorder: a longitudinal study. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12423.

Vessoyan, K., Steckle, G., Easton, B., Nichols, M., Mok Siu, V., & McDougall, J. (2018). Using eye-tracking technology for communication in Rett syndrome: perceptions of impact. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1462848.

Werfel, K. L. (2018). Morphosyntax production of preschool children with hearing loss: An evaluation of the extended optional infinitive and surface accounts. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 2313–2324.