A randomized controlled trial of an oral inferential comprehension intervention for young children with developmental language disorder
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© The Author(s) 2018. Although children with developmental language disorder demonstrate poor inferential comprehension, few studies have evaluated the effect of interventions to improve inferencing. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of a small-group intervention designed to improve oral inferential comprehension of narrative discourse. Thirty-seven 5- to 6-year-old children with developmental language disorder participated. The participants were randomly allocated to the oral inferential comprehension (IC) intervention or a control phonological awareness (PA) intervention. Small-group sessions took place twice a week over 8 weeks. Participants were assessed on narrative comprehension and phonological awareness skills pre- and post-intervention, and after a maintenance period of 8 weeks. Compared to the control PA group, the participants in the IC group demonstrated a significant increase in inferential comprehension scores from pre- to post-intervention, which was maintained over time. In addition, the IC group scored significantly higher than the PA group for inferential comprehension on a post-intervention generalization measure. There was no significant difference between the two groups for literal comprehension scores at any assessment point. The results demonstrate that the small-group intervention was effective at improving inferential comprehension of narratives in 5- to 6-year-old children with developmental language disorder. Additionally, generalized improvement was shown across the narrative context, and improvements were maintained two months following the intervention.
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