Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Comparison of Conversational-Recasting and Imitative Procedures for Training Grammatical Structures in Children With Specific Language Impairment

Camarata, S.M., Nelson, K.E., & Camarata, M.N. (1994). Comparison of conversational-recasting and imitative procedures for training grammatical structures in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37(6), 1414-1423.

This study compared the effectiveness of two language intervention strategies used to increase correct production of grammatical morphemes and complex sentences in children identified as specifically language impaired. A group of 21 children between the ages of 4:0 and 6:10 who met the criteria for SLI received targeted intervention strategies aimed at either imitation or conversation recasting in 24 intervention sessions over the course of 12 weeks. Each treatment session was divided equally between imitative treatment and recasting treatment, which were each aimed at different intervention targets. The order of the two interventions were counterbalanced across sessions.

Results compared children’s elicited or spontaneous productions in treatment, and in response to clinician input. Use of the conversational recast method resulted in fewer clinician presentations to achieve a greater number of correct spontaneous utterances compared to the imitation model. Additionally, significantly fewer sessions were required for spontaneous production within the conversation treatment versus the imitation treatment. Conversely, the imitative treatment resulted in a greater number of elicited but not spontaneous productions. The authors proposed that the success of the conversation recast treatment model might be due to the easy generalizability of the embedded targets as both treatment and future use of targets take place within actual conversation.

It was recommended that future research on this topic should include increased isolation of the two treatment methods. The results of this study suggest that use conversation recasting as a method of treatment when targeting grammatical morphemes and sentence structure in children identified with specific language impairment.

Blogger: Rosine Salazer

Monday, March 19, 2012

Errorless Leaning of Face-Name Associations in Early Alzheimer's Disease

Clare, L., Wilson, B.A., Breen, K., & Hodges, J.R. (1999). Errorless learning of face-name associations in early Alzheimer’s disease. Neurocase: The Neutral Basis of Cognition, 5(1), 37-46.

Dementia refers to the loss of memory and other mental abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Many patients with dementia complain of major problems in face-name recognition. There is evidence that people with Alzheimer’s (a common type of dementia) can learn and retain new information by using strategies such as elaboration of material at encoding and expanding rehearsal. Another effective strategy that has been used with brain injured and learning disabled people is errorless learning. Errorless learning aims to prevent or significantly reduce errors made by the learner during the learning process.

This paper reports a multiple baseline intervention single case study of a 72 year old man (VJ) with Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems for the last three years aimed at improving face-naming. The first phase, initial baseline, involved showing VJ Polaroid pictures of 14 club members and testing which names he already knew. The second phase, the intervention, consisted of teaching the remaining face name associations over 21 sessions in his home. Phase three, generalization, took place at the social club and required VJ to identify individuals in person. In phase four, post intervention baseline, sessions were conducted in which VJ’s ability to name the photographs was tested. Finally, phase 5 included a follow-up at 1,3,6, and 9 months.

Errorless learning principles were applied throughout the phases by instructing VJ to provide a name only if he was sure. If he was unsure of a name, prompts were given. Each name-face association was trained in the same way during the intervention phase. VJ was shown a photograph and told the name. Next a mnemonic was chosen that related the name to a physical feature (example: Caroline with the curl on her forehead). Next, vanishing cues were used during the learning trials. Finally, an expanding rehearsal procedure took place.

The results of the study showed a significant increase in the number of faces VJ correctly named, rising from 22% at baseline to 98% following training with improvements maintained after 3, 6, and 9 months. The results provide some evidence that the errorless learning technique may be useful in learning face-name relationships in individuals with Alzheimer’s. However, mnemonic and vanishing cues may also have contributed to the improvement in VJ’s memory.

Blogger: Allison Partridge