Language and speech are some of the most important human characteristics that differentiate people from other living organisms. Unfortunately, there are sometimes developmental abnormalities that cause children to have significant problems in recognizing and using language and speaking.
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An article titled “The Efficacy of Fast ForWord Language Intervention in School-Age Children with Language Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial” talks about the research that was produced to aid this problem, and what sort of outcomes came to be. The article describes several possible treatments and then, analyzes their effectiveness and longevity.
There were four conditions set up: 1-Fast ForWord Language (FFW-L), 2-academic enrichment (AE), 3-computer-asssited language intervention (CALI), 4-individual language intervention (ILI). All the methods had the same amount of repetitions and hours.
All had a significant influence on the skills and learning, but FFW-L and CALI were most effective and earned higher scores in the follow up testing (Gillam et al., 2008). The article discusses outcomes, methods used and randomization. Most importantly, how children responded to a specific study is an appropriate start for future research.
The rationale for conducting such a study is rather necessary to evolve the offered treatment and properly diagnose the condition. The interactions that a child experiences are much more influential at a younger age, so the intervention must be offered early. The article fails to mention that children are more observant than adults, and are mostly watching and making conclusions in their learning process.
Thus, adults play a significant role in the way children perceive and use speech and language. The repetition of behaviors and mimicking are observed in many instances. Evidence from an experimental study has shown improvement, but it is not related to other instances in life. How well children write, use their imagination, crafts and regular behavior are not implemented into the study.
It is possible that at some moments children might have a better predisposition or ability to speak, than at others. This might be related to the mood or attitude towards a specific situation or a general physical condition. In order to properly study the effectiveness of the research and improvement methods, many more aspects of the individual characteristics and social life must be taken into consideration.
Control group and conditions were rather reliable. The fact that examiners were blindfolded excluded some form of bias and implication of the results. But nonetheless, the process of generalizing specific rules and schemes from the observed behavior and conditions present in a test setting is questionable. In order to learn, a person must acquire knowledge about a certain concept and thus, develop a response to adequately deal with a situation.
Recognition and cognitive processing of information is learned through participation in various activities, and the more social interaction there is, the better a child will adjust to the environment. As such, the rate of progress for a child in a test setting, home setting or social situation, as well as school, will be different. Randomization was varied according to the schools and assignments to a particular group and test setting.
This is rather effective, as there were children who were placed into an examination directly, and those who were assigned randomly (Gillam et al., 2008). This allowed seeing the difference in the results according to the learning rate and retention. But, the unique nature of children had to be taken into account.
Children will often have more connection with children of their own age, as they are able to relate to common themes. To make the study even more random, there must have been different settings with both adults and children. Some tests could even be conducted by older children or those who have the ability to participate in the study, but are of the same age.
The measures were valid and reliable only to the study and conditions that were present in this particular examination. The repetition of the study and the examination of children within the 6 month period are not as reliable because the circumstances within that amount of time are not taken into consideration.
Some children might have been resting more; there could have been extensive amounts of practice and study, as well as unnoticeable stimuli, such as parent’s affection, the influence of peers or environmental factors. There is no doubt that the study can be the basis for further research, but careful examination of a number of other factors must be conducted. The reported effect size varied according to each individual study.
Posttest was highest for ILI and FFW-L treatments, whereas after 6 months, AE was highest with 1.34 and lowest for FFW-L with 0.93. Backward masking was the highest for CALI-post test 0.71 and 6 months at 1.14. Token test had FFW-L as most effective. And blending words show very close result with FFW-L being the highest at 0.79 and AE the lowest at -0.11 posttest, and 0.46 in 6 months (Gillam et al., 2008).
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The findings were important on both social and personal level. As this is a problem that can be improved, awareness and proper programs must be set in place to permit children to learn and adapt to their issue and the surrounding conditions. This type of research is aimed to understand how the human brain works, and how people can help themselves in becoming more educated and skilled.
Gillam et al. (2008). The Efficacy of Fast ForWord Language Intervention in School-Age Children with Language Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 51, 97-119.