Archive | research RSS feed for this section

Measuring vocabulary development in bilingual children

10 Feb

The topic of my first Research Tuesday Blog is (drumroll please): “Total and Conceptual Vocabulary in Spanish–English Bilinguals From 22 to 30 Months: Implications for Assessment.”

This is all there is to see folks

This is all there is to see, folks

To understand the purpose and findings of this article it is beneficial to know the difference between total and conceptual vocabulary.

Total vocabulary is the sum of the words a child knows across two languages.

Conceptual vocabulary gives the child credit for knowing concepts rather than words, and concepts that are represented in both languages are counted only once.

So basically, when looking at a bilingual child’s total vocabulary you would count both the word perro and the word dog. If you were looking at conceptual vocabulary you would only give the child credit for knowing one concept: the furry, four-legged creature in my house which barks and eats kibble is a dog/perro.

The bottom line about this article? The researchers found that when assessing bilingual children, it is most appropriate and beneficial to look at total vocabulary (total vocab FTW!) A clinician is able to look at total vocabulary in a bilingual child by providing the MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI; Fenson et al.,1993) in English as well as in the family’s home language.

What happened in this research project? Cynthia Core, Erika Hoff, Rosario Rumiche, and Melissa Señor provided families of 47 bilingual families with the CDI and the Inventario del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas (IDHC; Jackson-Maldonado et al., 2003.) This was a longitudinal study; the children were assessed at 22, 25, and 30 months-of-age.  The children were age and socioeconomically matched with 56 monolingual (English-speaking) children who were assessed with only the CDI.

At the initial 22 month trial, all parents completed the Ages and Stages Questionaire (Squires et al., 1999). The parents of monolingual children completed the CDI, and the parents of bilingual children completed both the CDI and IDHC, at the 22, 25, and 30 month session. The CDI and IDHC provide parents with a checklist of words they have heard their child produce and yields raw vocabulary scores based on this checklist. Both tests provide a percentile based on monolingual norms.

Then the researchers ran all sorts of crazy ANOVAs and t-tests and z-ratios which were totally over my head so I skipped ahead to the conclusion.

Researchers found:

The Spanish-English bilingual children showed a mean conceptual vocabulary which was significantly lower than their total vocabulary.

Total vocabulary in the bilingual children was not different from the monolingual children at any of the three sessions.

Conceptual vocabulary in the bilingWual children was considerably lower than the monolingual children at the 30 month visit.

Total vocabulary assessment did not identify any more/less at-risk bilingual children than bilingual children. Conceptual vocabulary assessment identified a higher number of bilingual children who appeared to have vocab development in the low-average range.

When one compares a bilingual child’s vocabulary to monolingual norms it underestimates the child’s expressive language and over-identifies at-risk children.

Using the CDI (and the home-language counterpart) clinicians can get a clear picture of a bilingual child’s total vocabulary without being responsible for considering the child’s language experiences, and language dominance, and language overlap, and the “balance” in their bilingualism. Clinicians are able to see clear change using these protocols (which we all love).

The authors caution us to remember to take socioeconomic status and receptive language into account. They also suggest that monolingual testing may be appropriate in the event that a clinician wants to know about English proficiency (or the proficiency of the home language.) They also pointed out that similar studies have been done previously with mixed results. ALSO the researchers did a really nice literature review to give you more background on bilingualism, total and conceptual vocab etc., so please read that if you desire.

Direct Link (you will need your ASHA login): http://jslhr.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1797298&resultClick=1

Citations:

Cynthia Core, Erika Hoff, Rosario Rumiche, Melissa Señor; Total and Conceptual Vocabulary in Spanish–English Bilinguals From 22 to 30 Months: Implications for Assessment. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2013;56(5):1637-1649. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2013/11-0044).

Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., … Reilly, J. S. (1993). The MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: User’s guide and technical manual. San Diego, CA: Singular.

Jackson-Maldonado, D., Thal, D. J., Fenson, L., Marchman, V., Newton, T., Conboy, B. (2003). El Inventario del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas: User’s guide and technical manual. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Squires, J., Potter, L., Bricker, D. (1999). Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Parent-Completed Child Monitoring System (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Undergrad – What to look for!

3 Mar

Howdy. It’s four AM and I’m wiiiiiide awake. I went to bed weirdly early because I felt crappy and now here I am, blogging and answering emails because…what else is there to do? (Eat.)

I got an email from a high school junior (Melissa) this week, asking me what to look for in an undergraduate speech therapy program. (Which may be known as any number of things: communication disorders, communication sciences and disorders…who knows?)

GOOD QUESTION! Never really thought about it since I sort of…fell into my program. But if I was specifically looking for a program, I came up with some things that I really liked about my program (Or didn’t like…though there wasn’t much to dislike.)

1) Class size! My undergrad was teensy. We had about 30-40 girls in my program. And consider, that’s 30-40 girls that I saw every day. For four years. So depending on your personality a small class size or a big one might make more sense. To me, small was better than other state schools that had 60-100+ students in the comm dis program. I got to know the girls in my class, some of them are my best friends. But also, small means cliquey. Small means getting to know EVERYONE (even the people that make you INSANE. You may sit by your best friend for four years, but you may also sit by someone you want to judo chop for four years.) In a bigger program there’s more of a buffer.

Another benefit to a small class size is getting to know the professors more personally. These are people you’re going to be asking for references and recommendation letters in three years. If they don’t know you, your letters may be rather impersonal and vague. I got to know my professors, I’m friends with them on Facebook, I give them big hugs at state conferences. If your class size is humungous you’re going to have to work very hard to stand out.

2) Do they have a NSSLHA chapter? We had one at my undergrad but it was sort of…disorganized. It was affiliated, but involvement was rather willy nilly and professors didn’t really push you to be in it. If you were in it, it was likely just because you wanted it to be on your resume. We did community projects and that kind of thing intermittently. But some programs have really cool NSSLHA programs! They have a lot to offer students, they support students, and they push students to get involved early. NSSLHA is awesome too, because if you’re in it for …two consecutive years (?) you get a discount when you become a grown up ASHA member. Which is sweet. So yeah, ask about NSSLHA. If they don’t have one or it isn’t well-organized, and you really like the program, get in there quick and help organize it yourself! I’m pretty sure National NSSLHA has resources to help students put together their local chapter.

3) Can you be a clinician as an undergrad? This was one my most favorite things about my undergrad program and such a bragging point for me in grad school! I was a clinician as a senior. And as a junior I was an “assistant” clinician. It was awesome! I had clients! Three to be exact. It was so nice to go into grad school with clinical hours already and clinical experience under my belt. I felt so much more confident and secure than many of my peers. And God knows, I love feeling confident and secure.

4) How else can you get involved in your department? I knew as an undergrad that I needed to get in there, get to know the professors, get to know our department administrators. I wanted them to know my face, know my name, and to like me. So I worked for the department – I started working for our admin assistant shredding confidential papers 2 hours a morning, 3 days a week, for a whole summer. Then I moved up in the world and started working for our professor who was in charge of the alumni files, so I spent a lot of time filing, inputting data, sending out surveys, etc. Then I started working for another professor just doing her general bidding (seriously, one time I vacuumed bugs from under her desk. I also opened her mail for her. WHATEVER. I’LL DO IT.) I spent so much time in our department it was ridiculous. But guess what — they knew my name, they knew my face, they knew I was a hard worker. And I made some excellent friends/colleagues/mentors.

5) WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO FOR THEM? My undergrad program had a lot of opportunities for research. Which is rare for an undergrad program so ask about it. As a junior I did research in a group setting – there was five or six of us. We picked a research project, put it all together with the guidance of a professor, and presented it at our university’s undergrad research conference. Then senior year my best friend and I did an independent research study, so the two of us picked a topic, did the project, and presented it at a local and state wide conference. It was awesome. And it gave me great experience for when I went to do my thesis in my Master’s program.

6) MELISSA! – I forgot something important: do they have an onsite clinic? Some schools don’t! And that means you have to go out in the world to do your 25 observation hours. Which might be good because it is more realistic. But it might also be super inconvenient. I honestly had ENOUGH going on as an undergrad without worrying about driving all over creation trying to do my observation hours.

7) @goldstein25 pointed out that undergrad programs don’t have to be accredited so I deleted this. But in its place I’m replacing it with this tid bit: if the school you’re looking at doesn’t have an undergrad SLP program, but you want to go to SLP grad school – you’ll have to “level“. Which means that you’ll have to take both the undergrad SLP courses as well as the grad courses. So you DEFINITELY want to find a university with a CMDS major for undergrads. Otherwise you might as well slap at least another year onto the 2 years for your Masters.

If anyone can think of anything else, please comment and share your ideas. This is just what my brain produced with minimal sleep.

NP: Brandi Carlile – Heart’s Content

getting things wrapped up

25 Jan

Right now, as we speak, I should be studying for my Professional Issues midterm. But you know, it FEELS like common sense so I’m having a hard time “studying” for stuff I feel I should already know.

What is a Professional Issues course you ask? Well let me tell you. It is a two week crash course in….issues that affect the professions. I feel as though the last two years has been a crash course on this topic but nobody asked me! I’m pretty sure one way or another every CSD program has this course.

So what am I doing instead of studying? Listening to music, drinking tea, blogging, sending resumes, Facebook creeping, WordPress creeping. The usual.

I’m going to finish up my thesis data tomorrow and let’s just talk about that for a second.

I wanted at least eight participants with dementia, and I only got four. We added a component where we used “healthy aging” participants for comparison (and to increase my sample size). I got four of those. Then two backed out. Luckily I’ve made a new SLP BFF who works in a nursing home and she’s getting me the hookup with two more participants. THANK GOD.

Overall it has been a hassle but once I can finish with the data collection it should be good.

My thesis advisor keeps asking me if I could go back would I opt for the thesis option? And my answer is always yes. It has been a pain in the behind but, for ME, it is worth it. I want to do a Ph.D. in a few years. I love doing research. I want the real life experience of doing research. So yes, I would always opt to do the thesis. I’ve got everything set up and ready to go, I just need to analyze my data and format it. Then it is all editing from here on out.

I’m unsure as to WHY the thesis is so dreaded for advisors, especially considering the lack of clinicians interested in legitimate research. I DO think if you opt to do a thesis you need to be dedicated and motivated, it is a COMMITMENT. But stop telling people that by doing a thesis they likely won’t graduate on time! That’s an exception, not the rule! I think it is irresponsible for faculty to encourage people to not pursue more advanced research if they have a real interest.

On Monday I start at SSD-STL and I’m pretty darn excited. I talked to EBS today and I’m hoping to get in contact with Genesis Rehab about interviewing and such for my CF. My first interview is coming up in about two weeks, I really can’t believe I’m getting to the point where I can start interviewing! It is all coming together and I can’t wait to get the next chapter of my life started.  It’s about time!

NP: Vonda Shepard – Baby, Don’t you break my heart slow

i can’t sleeeeep

8 Jan

I have tried. No dice. What to DO?! Blog. Duh.

Life update: I’m living in the finished attic of friends KG and DH. They are super lovely and accomodating and without them I’d be living…no where. So basically I’m indebted to them for the rest of time. On Saturday the boyf is moving my storage unit crap to STL. Then I’m here for another two weeks!

This will be week four of the externship with my little bitties. Technically supposed to be my last week but I’m asking for more time because I AM NOT READY.

I succeeded in getting out of bed and going to collect thesis data, for anyone who doubted me. The best part of my project is asking people to “write a sentence” for the MMSE. I get the best sentences and people always look at me like I’m a weirdo at this request (I get the same look when I ask them to count backwards from 100, by seven. Dear Folstein and Folstein, NO ONE CAN DO THAT. Love, Sam). So far the sentences (or fragments of sentences) are,

1. I think this crazy.

2. I would like to make my way to Mountain Grove. (WHAT??)

3. I am going today.

4. The leaves are now all gone.

5. It’s not so bad here.

6. This is a beautiful day.

It’s like a MMSE poem.

I’ve been analyzing the data I’ve got. Nothing to write home about yet, but this weekend I plan to finish data collection and stats so I’ll letcha know what we’ve got going on.

My clinical director said to not start applying to jobs until March or April. However, two women I work with at my site heard this and were completely aghast. Apparently I should start like…NOW. I started fixing up my resume and would LOVE some input. Like, I have a LOT of stuff to put on a resume but my work experience and extra curriculars are basically irrelevant. Do I put those on there? I like to keep my resume to a page so I want to make the most of that page.

I’m putting my resume here so you can judge it:

Seriously, TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

 

I’m all about the constructive criticism. Please tell me what I can do to make this resume beautiful and miraculous. I want a JOOOOB. I also sent this to an SLP who I sort of know in Kansas City so hopefully she’ll have the hook up.

In unrelated news, I got a hamster. His name is Mr. Stoli Socks. He is a Russian dwarf. And he was a Christmas orphan. And he has a nibbled ear. And he is super cute and kind of mean. I think he is misunderstood.

"Oh hey guys. I am super cute. LOVE ME"

I couldn’t stop myself. HE WAS ABANDONED. Also, Monty needed a friend. He was getting tired of my shenanigans. Like I tried putting him in this hanging tunnel thing and his back legs and balls were hanging out because he is SO LAZY he couldn’t get the gumption to pull those body parts into the tunnel. Needless to say, he was none too pleased. The animals on the package looked so happy! But this is what he looked like:

From experience, I can tell you, this is an unhappy pig

This is apparently what should have happened if Monty wasn’t so lackadaisical.

You may be thinking, "That pig doesn't look more or less happy than Monty" and my answer to that is,"This pig's testes are INSIDE the tunnel"

I don’t put Monty and Mr. Socks in the same cage, but piggies and hammies are social critters. So when I put Mr. Socks in the ball and set Monty on the floor they engage. It is QUITE adorable.

In related news, I’m clearly insane.

While I’m an attic troll, my parental units are watching my creatures. Obviously my charms are many.

Since I’ve been back in Springfield, I’ve done the following: gone to hot yoga, gotten a spray tan, and attended a black tie wedding. Life keeps getting weirder and weirder. And awesomer. Also, I’m up to 252 clinic hours and 35 externship hours! Woop woop! 400 here I come!

I hope everyone taking the Praxis next week is having good luck studying! I know a lot of comps are going on as well. Keep your head up! We’re almost there!

I’m going to sleep.

I don’t know how I forgot to tell you guys this

29 Dec

So a few weeks ago I was in my thesis advisor’s office and a senior came in. She was talking to my advisor about this project she and some first years were piloting. Then my advisor says, “Oh, Samantha would do it!” and me, being a sucker, was like, “Sure why not?”

(She said it would take 15 minutes. Do not believe this woman.)

Anyway, so they take me down the hall and won’t tell me what they’re going to do to me but I don’t think it will be very elaborate because it will ONLY TAKE 15 MINUTES.

Then, this happened:

hilarious

What is my life?

NP: Florence and the Machine – Howl