Zeitschrift für Kommunikationsstörungen, Gehörlosenstudien und Hörgeräte

Zeitschrift für Kommunikationsstörungen, Gehörlosenstudien und Hörgeräte
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ISSN: 2375-4427


Effects of Language Intervention versus Traditional Interpretation for a Deaf Preschool Child: A Pilot Study

Kristen R. Smith, Kimberly A. Wolbers, David F. Cihak

The objective of this study was to determine the impact of combined language intervention approaches (i.e., interaction, modification of the message, and visual scaffolds) on a student’s ability to provide correct responses and to appropriately participate in class activities. This study examined the impact of utilizing the collection of language intervention techniques in comparison to traditional interpreting with a four year old deaf child with a language delay who participated in a special education preschool classroom with sign language services. Utilizing a single-subject reversal methodology, the language facilitator providing such services alternated between traditional interpretation and a collection of research-based language intervention strategies. The language intervention incorporated interaction, modification of the message, and visual scaffolds to support language development, which are not typical of traditional sign language interpreting. Results indicate that the language intervention occasioned a higher number of correct responses and instances of appropriate interactions from the student during a daily interactive circle time in comparison to traditional interpreting. A functional relation was established between changes in correct responses and appropriate interactions and the introduction of the language intervention within three different points in time. While traditional interpretation was first implemented, the student was unable to respond or participate on any occasions. By the conclusion of the study, the data showed a steep upward trend, with Jeff nearly doubling his responses and participation from day three to day four of the second intervention period. Despite this, we conclude that the child did not have sufficient expressive language for him to effectively participate in an interpreted classroom. It is likely that even the most intensive language intervention provided by a single individual will not provide the support needed to facilitate full and natural language acquisition. Rather, an environment in which the child has multiple opportunities for age-appropriate interaction, socialization, and language models may be necessary to foster more natural language acquisition.