And more...

  • Boyle et al. propose a way to program digital books for students that could have benefits for their language and literacy skills, using visual scene display apps that allow for dynamic presentation of text (e.g. Tobii-Dynavox’s Snap Scene). Their pilot study showed that this might be an effective strategy to help young children with language disorders learn new sight words.
  • Coufal et al. show “comparable treatment outcomes between traditional service delivery and telepractice” for children ages 6–9 ½ with speech sound disorder only.
  • Lundine et al. share some preliminary evidence suggesting that junior- and high-school aged students who have suffered TBIs and are struggling academically might have particular challenges with expository discourse (understanding and producing informational, rather than narrative, passages) that don’t show up on typical language assessments. As always with older students, consider throwing an expository language sample into your testing routine!
  • Szumski et al. compare the outcomes of two social skills programs (“Play Time/Social Time” and “I Can Problem Solve”) in preschool-aged children with ASD in Poland.  “Play Time/Social Time” was more effective in improving interaction skills, while “I Can Problem Solve” was more effective in improving children’s ability to take others’ perspective. Both curricula were developed for implementation in the preschool classroom with children with and without special needs.
  • Wittke & Spaulding found that teachers perceived preschool children with developmental language disorder (DLD) who were receiving services as having poorer executive functioning (e.g. inhibition, working memory, and task shifting) as compared to preschoolers with DLD who were not receiving services. Because we know the challenges of differentially diagnosing DLD, SLPs should be aware that children who have poorer executive functioning skills are more likely to be referred for services than peers with higher executive function skills who also meet criteria for DLD.


Boyle, S., McCoy, A., McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2017). Using digital texts in interactive reading activities for children with language delays and disorders: a review of the research literature and pilot study. Seminars in Speech and Language, 38(4), 263–275.

Coufal, K., Parham, D., Jakubowitz, M., Howell, C., & Reyes, J. (2017). Comparing traditional service delivery and telepractice for speech sound production using a functional outcome measure. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0070

Lundine, J. P., Harnish, S. M., McCauley, R. J., Zezinka, A. B., Blackett, D. S., & Fox, R. A. (2017). Exploring summarization differences for two types of expository discourse in adolescents with traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Speech–Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0131.

Szumski, G., Smogorzewska, J., Grygiel, P., & Orlando, A-M. (2017). Examining the effectiveness of naturalistic social skills training in developing social skills and theory of mind in preschoolers with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. 10.1007/s10803-017-3377-9. 

Wittke, K. & Spaulding, T. J. (2017). Which preschool children with specific language impairment receive language intervention? Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.

Pediatric brain injury referrals to SLPs very low

Pediatric brain injury isn’t just a temporary medical problem, but something that can cause cognitive–communication issues that last well past the acute phase and have a significant academic and social impact. The authors of this study emphasize that SLPs are ideal professionals to address these issues, and have “…a unique set of knowledge and skills that is needed in pediatric brain injury management…”
So the primary question in this article was—are these kids with pediatric brain injury being referred to SLPs (as they should be) while in the hospital? The medical records of 200 children*, from two hospitals, with intake between 2012–2014, were carefully examined. The authors found that at Hospital 1, 36% of children with pediatric brain injury were referred to an SLP, and at Hospital 2, only 2% were. Surprisingly, these were “specialty children’s hospitals affiliated with academic medical centers."
The authors describe their sample: the top three diagnoses were concussion, skull fracture, and hemorrhage, and the most frequent mechanisms were falls, motor vehicle collisions, and sports. Referral patterns were predicted most strongly by injury severity (more severe injuries get SLP referral) and age (older children more likely to get SLP referral). Now—the 36% an 2% stats are sad enough, but the fact that younger kids are less likely to get SLP referral is just painful. The authors propose several possible reasons for this (though the current data set can’t confirm it), with one of them being that perhaps young children’s behavioral repertoire (e.g. communication skills) aren’t as advanced, so deficits are simply more likely to go unnoticed. The authors indicate additional research in progress to help address the questions of why referral rates are so low and exhibit age and severity trends.
Ciccia, A.H., Lundine, J.P., Coreno, A. (2016) Referral Patterns as a Contextual Variable in Pediatric Brain Injury: A Retrospective Analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.  doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0087

*There were more cases of pediatric brain injury than this, but many records had to be excluded from analyses because they were incomplete or inconsistent in some way.