University of Limerick
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‘Captain Grey and the Greedy Aliens’: Obtaining normative on a new test for the production of verbs at sentence level in children

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posted on 2014-10-10, 15:39 authored by NIcola Rhatigan
Background - Verbs are known to be central to sentence production (Levelt 1989). Children with SLI (CwSLI) have been found to have significant difficulty with both verb knowledge and the production of sentences around verbs (Hansson and Bruce 2002). Current clinically available assessments fail to elicit a range of verb types and verb argument structures with varying degree and complexity. The story retell ‘Captain Grey and the Greedy aliens’ provides an opportunity for an efficient and valid measure of children’s verb production abilities to be gathered which are more representative of their underlying language abilities than the de-contextualized assessments currently available. Objectives- The aim of this pilot study is to gather normative data on children’s verb comprehension, mean length of sentence production, and their verb argument structure accuracy, to allow for future identification of strengths and weaknesses in the sentence production of children with language impairments. It aims to investigate the sensitivity and reliability of the assessment tool, to establish the clinical utility of the story re-tell. It also aims to investigate whether verb comprehension is a predictor of both mean sentence complexity and verb argument structure accuracy. Methods- 91 school-aged children (4;06-12years) were recruited. A verb comprehension task consisting of 36 target verbs, and a story retell task designed to elicit a variety of verb types from a range of semantic and syntactic classes were implemented. Results- Normative data revealed developmental progression through the age groups on all three variables. Verb comprehension was found to be a significant contributor to the development of both mean sentence complexity development and verb argument structure accuracy. Conclusions- The story retell ‘Captain Grey and the Greedy Aliens’ could be a useful tool for examining verb types that are problematic for CwSLI. A larger sample size is required in order to validate the clinical utility of the story retell tool.



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