University of Limerick
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'Captain Grey and the Greedy Aliens’: Obtaining normative data on a new narrative assessment for the production of verbs at sentence level in children.

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posted on 2014-10-10, 14:37 authored by Deirdre Flynn
Background: Children with language impairment frequently present with verb knowledge difficulties and incorrect use of verbs and their associated structures. However standardized assessment tools for children contain very few verb-specific subtests. A story retell tool was designed to assess a range of semantic-syntactic verb classes and their associated argument structures. Aims: The study aimed to gather normative data from n=91 Typically Developing (TD) Children aged between 4;06-12;0 years on their verb production and related structures and complexity of sentences used, on the newly developed story retell tool. It aimed to assess the sensitivity of the tool across the age range. This data was also compared to comprehension scores on the Test of Verb Knowledge (Murphy, 2011b) to determine the relationship between verb knowledge and correct verb production and sentence complexity. Methods and Procedures: Children were told the ‘Captain Grey and the Greedy Aliens’ narrative and then asked to retell the story using the wordless picture book. Target verbs elicited were marked and graduated prompting (question; then giving the target verb to the child to make a sentence) were given if they were not elicited in the first instance. Samples were analysed and scored for correct verb comprehension score, correct verb argument structure and mean sentence complexity. Outcomes and Results: The mean increased with age for both correct verb argument structure (VAS%) and mean sentence complexity (MSC). There was a strong positive correlation between verb semantic knowledge and sentence production. One age group (8;06-9;05) showed a higher mean score on all variables than age groups above this. This could be attributed to a small sample for this age (n=9) and all participants scoring highly in this age band, demonstrating that there is a wide range of ability in TD children. Conclusions and Implications: Scoring on the narrative tool indicated a gradual progression of higher correct verb argument structure and increased complexity of sentences. The tool could be used clinically to identify verb impairments if more normative data was gathered. Furthermore, the correlation between verb knowledge and verb production has important implications for assessment and intervention.



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