Assessing Sentence Diversity in Toddlers At-Risk for Language Disorders Purpose: The purpose of this article is to introduce clinicians to an approach for assessing toddlers' sentence diversity and using criterion-referenced expectations to identify toddlers at-risk for clinically significant delays in grammatical development between 30 and 36 months of age. Method: Five at-risk toddlers were identified from an ... Article
Article  |   November 01, 2014
Assessing Sentence Diversity in Toddlers At-Risk for Language Disorders
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Megan M. McKenna
    Addison School District 4, Addison, IL
    Speech & Language Professionals, Inc., Lake Hills, IL
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
  • Financial Disclosure: Megan M. McKenna is a speech-language pathologist at Addison School District 4. Pamela A. Hadley is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This study was supported by BCS-0822513, NSF awarded to Matthew Rispoli and Pamela Hadley. This article is based upon Megan McKenna's master's thesis, completed as a graduate student at the University of Illinois.
    Financial Disclosure: Megan M. McKenna is a speech-language pathologist at Addison School District 4. Pamela A. Hadley is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This study was supported by BCS-0822513, NSF awarded to Matthew Rispoli and Pamela Hadley. This article is based upon Megan McKenna's master's thesis, completed as a graduate student at the University of Illinois.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Megan M. McKenna has no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article. Pamela A. Hadley has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Megan M. McKenna has no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article. Pamela A. Hadley has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Articles
Article   |   November 01, 2014
Assessing Sentence Diversity in Toddlers At-Risk for Language Disorders
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, November 2014, Vol. 21, 159-172. doi:10.1044/lle21.4.159
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, November 2014, Vol. 21, 159-172. doi:10.1044/lle21.4.159

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to introduce clinicians to an approach for assessing toddlers' sentence diversity and using criterion-referenced expectations to identify toddlers at-risk for clinically significant delays in grammatical development between 30 and 36 months of age.

Method: Five at-risk toddlers were identified from an archival database. Mean length of utterance (MLU), grammatical complexity, and sentence diversity measures at 30 months of age were then used to evaluate the grammatical abilities of the at-risk children.

Results: Three participants had MLUs of 1.50 or more standard deviations below the mean which alone would be sufficient for raising clinical concern. Although the other two toddlers had MLUs above 1.50, assessment of sentence diversity identified them as at-risk. The sentence diversity findings were also consistent with low grammatical complexity scores.

Discussion: The clinical usefulness of a sentence-focused approach for assessment, intervention planning, and progress monitoring are discussed.

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