Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Designing Caregiver-Implemented Shared-Reading Interventions to Overcome Implementation Barriers

Evidence suggests that parent-child shared-reading interventions can have a positive impact on print awareness and oral language. Nevertheless, parents often have difficulty completing the interventions as described. Researchers in the field of Implementation Science are interested in identifying barriers that prevent an intervention from being implemented the way it was intended. Justice et al. aimed to identify barriers that parents experience when completing a print-focused reading intervention designed to improve early-literacy skills of children with developmental language disorder.
Parents who were involved in a shared-reading intervention study completed questionnaires and interviews regarding their participation. Four main challenges to completing the intervention as described were identified: time-related pressure, parent reading difficulties or discomfort with reading, and a limited understanding of the intervention benefits.  The authors then identified behaviour-changing techniques to align with each of these barriers. The behaviour-changing techniques included: Reward Technique: providing a reward each time a session is completed, Feedback Technique: providing feedback on the parent’s skills, Model Technique: providing models of a session and Encouragement Technique: providing messages that emphasize the value of the intervention.

Evaluation of the behaviour-changing techniques are currently underway. Preliminary results reveal that even with the techniques, one-third of parents enrolled are struggling with implementing the intervention. Overall, this article demonstrates the variability in how well caregivers can implement interventions and highlights the need to investigate how to make interventions manageable for parents.

Blogger: Meghan is a MClSc/PhD student, supervised by Dr. Lisa Archibald

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Semantic and phonological contributions to short-term repetition and long-term cued sentence recall

The ability to repeat a sentence relies on both knowing phonological (speech sound) information and semantic (meaning) information. When we hear a sentence, the phonological information is maintained in short-term memory (STM). Additionally, related semantic knowledge held in long-term memory (LTM) is activated, and can support sentence recall. How each type of information contributes to remembering sentence content during STM recall and encoding into LTM, however, remains unclear.
The present study examined learning of phonological and semantic aspects of sentence. To test short-term repetition, participants were asked to repeat sentences they heard after a short delay. During the short delay, the participant either completed a phonological task or a finger tapping task. The task during the delay was designed to either disrupt phonological short-term memory (phonological task), or long-term memory more generally (finger tapping task). After 100 sentences were completed, participants were asked to recall all the sentences they previously. During this long-term cued recall task, participants were presented with two words (the subject and the main verb) from a sentence they had previously heard and were asked to recall the sentence verbatim.
Results revealed that when phonological information was blocked, short-term recall accuracy was reduced. Interestingly, long-term recall for these sentences was better relative to what they had remembered in the STM task. It was suggested that the disruptive phonological task shifted the participant to processing the sentence meaning in more depth, and hence, better encoding and recall.
The findings indicate that processing meaning vs. phonological information supports long-term retention. If you’d like to read another summary of this paper completed by our lab, click here:
Blogger: Theresa Pham is a student in the combined MClSc/PhD program working under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Archibald. Theresa’s work examines the learning of phonological (speech sound) and semantic (meaning) aspects of words.