The role of spontaneous repetitions during treatment of morphosyntactic forms for children with developmental language disorder

Katrina Nicholas, Elena Plante, Rebecca Gómez, Rebecca Vance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Children with developmental language disorder sometimes spontaneously repeat clinician models of morphemes targeted for treatment. We examine how spontaneous repeating of clinician models in the form of recasts associates with improved child production of those emerging morphemes. Method: Forty-seven preschool children with developmental language disorder participated in Enhanced Conversational Recast therapy and were monitored for spontaneous repetitions of morphemes modeled by the clinician through conversational recasting. We calculated proportion of correct and incorrect productions elicited during treatment and for generalization probes as well as treatment effect sizes. We then used odds ratios to determine the probability that a spontaneous repetition may precede treatment gains and calculated correlations of correct repetitions with correct in-treatment productions of targets and treatment effect sizes. Results: Spontaneous repetitions were highly likely to happen just prior to meaningful treatment progress. Children with higher frequencies of correct spontaneous repetitions of morpheme targets also showed higher frequencies of correct productions of these forms during the course of treatment. Furthermore, children with an earlier onset of repetitions and higher frequencies of correct repetitions showed overall larger effect sizes at the end of treatment. Conclusions: Children’s use of correct forms in their repetitionsmayserveasaself-scaffold for mastering productions of the correct form via structural priming mechanisms. Tracking spontaneously repeated targets may be a useful milestone for identifying response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3995-4003
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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