Webquest assignment for Language and Communication Disorders

SPE 3323, Spring 2002

 

Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion, Credits and References

 

Introduction

Proper language development has been linked to the able to become competent is a vital component in the process of learning to read and write.  The ability to detect possible language disorders early in a child's development can lead to identifying other related disorders and facilitate early intervention.  You are ask to observe language interaction more closely than you ever have before, by collecting a language sample from a child of 36-60 months old. You will record the length of utterances, evaluate them for meaning, and summarize your findings.


Task

Collect and analyze a language sample of a child between the ages of 3 to 5.  In order to complete this task you must:

 

1.      Record and transcribe 25 utterances from a child between the ages of 36 to 60 months of age

2.      Calculate the MLU (mean length of utterance) for the sample

3.      Identification of the child's current stage of development according to Brown's Stages of Language Development, and

4.        Write a summary of your evaluation

 

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Process

Examples are provided below.

1.  Through play, questioning, or child initiated conversation record 25 utterances spoken by a child 3 to 5 years old. (36-no older than 60 months; child can be younger but his language sample will be more challenging to evaluate). You may use a third person to interact with the child while you record.  You must record utterances through writing or tape recorder at the time of contact.

2.  Transcribe the utterances of your subject, as spoken.  Don’t correct, change, or in any way modified.  Remember utterances from young children are often going to be grammatical incorrect.  Type each utterance in numbered list form.

3.  Count the number of morphemes in each sentence and note the total of words, syllables, and morphemes under each sentence.

 

Morpheme

A morpheme is a unit of meaning. It does not necessarily relate to the "word count" or "syllable count" of an utterance. Here is an example of the way morphemes are counted in the words happy, unhappy, unhappily, and unhappiest, and the sentence '

Examples:


1.  My ugly bothers picked on me this morning

 

8 words; 11 syllables; 10 morphemes 

(the word endings “s” and “ed” count as separate morphemes)


2. I go bye bye

 

4 words; 4 syllables; 3 morphemes  

( bye bye has one meaning)

 

3.      He looks unhappy

 

3 words; 5 syllables; 5 morphemes  

(“s” ending and “un” prefix have their own endings)

 

4.  Once you have the total of morphemes for each utterance average the totals with the number of utterances (total of morphemes divided by 25) to find the MLU.


            For example, using the utterances above, the MLU is (10+3+5)
¸3=9


5. Refer to Brown's Stages chart, which can be found through
http://members.tripod.com/Caroline_Bowen/BrownsStages.htm web-site and find the current stage of development for the child by using the Mean MLUm column.  Use the Morphological Structure column to list characteristics the current stage.

6.  Write a summary of the evaluation including the child's age in months, the current stage of development, characteristics of that stage, and why would you use this with a child exhibiting language difficulties and what strategies can be used to increase your subject’s language development.

 

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Resources

 

Katherine speaking about why she likes PE

 

This link will give you a language sample for practice.

Answer Key to Katherine speech sample

 

This link will provide you with a transcript of Katherine’s speech and the MLU evaluation.


http://members.tripod.com/Caroline_Bowen/minisample.htm

 

Speech Language Pathology - information for families, and SLP students and professionals about voice, speech and language problems in children

 

http://members.tripod.com/Caroline_Bowen/BrownsStages.htm

 

This link discusses Brown’s stage of language development


http://www.indiana.edu/~sphss333/lsa/remtherules.html


This link provides you with a short tutorial on how the to calculate MLUs


http://www.momagen.com/language_development.html

 

Momagen.com is devoted to encouraging and training you to sign with the pre-verbal toddlers of the world and let them sign back.

 

http://www.colorado.edu/slhs/SLHS4560/5_syntax/mlu_practice.html

 

This link provides you with child language samples for MLU practice. Practice calculating MLU (mean length of utterance) with the following samples, taken from the CHILDES database. How do the results compare with what you would expect based on each child's age?

 

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Evaluation

Your project will receive ten points if you have:

 

Your sample has 25 utterances (typed)

Your MLU calculations are within 95% accuracy

You correctly identify of your subject’s current stage and characteristics

Your summary includes reasonable strategies designed to increase your subject’s language development

 

Your project will receive eight points if you have::

 

Your sample has 25 utterances (typed)

Your MLU calculations are within 90% accuracy

You correctly identify of your subject’s current stage and characteristics

Your summary includes reasonable strategies designed to increase your subject’s language development

 

Your project will receive six points if you have::

 

Your sample has less than 25 utterances (typed)

Your MLU calculations are within 80% accuracy

You correctly identify of your subject’s current stage, however, list inappropriate characteristics of that age

Your summary includes questionable strategies designed to increase your subject’s language development

 

Your project will receive four points if you have::

 

Your sample has less than 20 utterances (typed)

Your MLU calculations are within 75% accuracy

You correctly identify of your subject’s current stage but are missing characteristics of the stage

Your summary is absent of strategies

 

Your project will receive two points if you have::

 

Your sample has less than 15 utterances (typed)

Your MLU calculations are less than 75% accurate

You incorrectly identify of your subject’s current stage and are missing characteristics of the stage

Your summary is incomplete or missing

 

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Conclusion

 

When speech a child’s language use is being evaluated one of common assignments an evaluator will use is the language sample.  First the evaluator will sample the child’s language, record a number of utterances, and then calculates the number of morphemes the child uses per utterance.  Then this information, in conjunction with other data, can be used to evaluate a child’s language development to see if the child may need speech and language therapy.  Being able to make an accurate and complete evaluation of a child’s speech is critical component when designing speech therapy for children with language delays.

 

 

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Credits and References

 

I would like to thank to Nancy Thornton for her assistance in developing this assignment and to Katherine Zubov for providing a language sample.

 

Caroline Bowen’s Speech and Language Development site

http://members.tripod.com/Caroline_Bowen/home.html

 

The LSA/CAI Language Analysis Program

http://www.indiana.edu/~sphss333/lsa/lsa.html

 

Momagen’s Stages of Language Development

http://www.momagen.com/language_development.html

 

Carolyn Rickard’s, GTPI, Language Development Page

http://www.colorado.edu/slhs/SLHS4560/5_syntax/mlu_practice.html

 

 

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