The language status of young children with expressive language delay following verb-focussed vocabulary intervention.
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Therapy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Speech and Language Therapy
Young children with expressive language delay often present with limited vocabulary and reduced length of utterance. In consideration of the relationship between vocabulary and grammar, intervention that targets vocabulary may also result in improved syntax development. This study investigated whether a hybrid approach to verb-focused vocabulary intervention would result in improvements in increased use of target words, increased expressive vocabulary and/or increased sentence length. Four participants, aged two years nine months to three years six months participated in an intervention program that targeted vocabulary, specifically verbs. Number of target verbs, number of different words (NDW) used and mean length of utterance (MLU) were measured in baseline, intervention and post-intervention phases. Results indicated that all participants had increased use of targeted words and increased NDW. The majority of participants also had increased MLU. These findings suggest that verb-focused vocabulary intervention has the potential to have broad effects on the language skills of young children with expressive language delay. Further research is warranted to determine whether similar results would be found in a larger cohort. The study also raises questions around choice of intervention targets and intervention approaches for young children with expressive language delay.