Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education

Second Advisor

Kristina Blaiser

Abstract

It is recommended that children with HL are assessed using standardized assessments normed on hearing peers (Houston & Caraway, 2009; Joint Commission on Infant Hearing (JCIH), 2007). However, as these assessments are more commonly administered to children with HL there is reason to further investigate the sensitivity of these assessments particularly in their ability to identify weaknesses specific to HL. The CELF-Preschool 2 (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals – Preschool (Wiig, Secord & Semel, 2004)) has been found to be a valid tool for diagnosing language impairment in normal hearing children (Spaulding, Plante, & Farinella, 2006). However, this assessment has not been normed on children with HL and the standardized assessment may not successfully identify areas of acoustic weakness that may exist in children with HL, particularly as it relates to the form of language (such as syntax and morphology) (Spencer, 2004). Standard and/or scaled scores alone may not provide the information needed to understand a child’s ability to hear across frequencies and to learn and accurately use morphosyntactic structures/information.

This preliminary study will 1) provide results examining the performance of 47 preschool children with HL on the CELF-P2; 2) describe findings from an item analysis that show children with HL have ongoing challenges with morphosyntactic development; and 3) discuss implications for educational providers (i.e., speech-language pathologists, deaf educators,) for interpretation of assessment results and intervention strategies.

The results indicated that compared to standardized norms, children with HL are performing within the average range on the CELF. An itemized analysis of subtests of the CELF revealed a pattern of errors were made as a collective group. These errors involved the following morphemes: a) using the phoneme /s/ (plurals, possessives, verb tense third person singular), b) regular past tense –ed, c) irregular past tense, and d) uncontractible copula “be”. The results suggest there may be other factors beyond language abilities affecting the performance of children with HL, and a standardized test score overall may not reflect these deficits. These findings merit further investigation into the frequency of sound factors that may be preventing acquisition of morphosyntactic parts of language in this population.

4-24-2014