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The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation Presenters: 2003 NYSSLHA Convention Harry N. Seymour Univ of Massachusetts Thomas Roeper Univ of Massachusetts.

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Presentation on theme: "The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation Presenters: 2003 NYSSLHA Convention Harry N. Seymour Univ of Massachusetts Thomas Roeper Univ of Massachusetts."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation Presenters: 2003 NYSSLHA Convention Harry N. Seymour Univ of Massachusetts Thomas Roeper Univ of Massachusetts Jill deVilliers Smith College Peter deVilliersSmith College *supported by NIH grant N01-DC *webpage:www.umass.edu/aae

2 Definition

3 Myths Behind the Controversy AAE is simply bad or broken English. AAE jeopardizes learning Standard English AAE is political correctness gone amuck. AAE is a cruel self-esteem hoax.

4 Clinical Problem Standardized tests for children who speak African American English The deficit/difference dilemma Too Many African American children fail

5 Misdiagnosis Over-representation –14.8 % of general population –20.2% of special education Under-representation –Unclear

6 Clinical Solution Make the tests harder –Avoid somewhat superficial aspects of language Contrasts between dialects –Focus on deep principles of language every child should know Noncontrastive elements between dialects

7 The DELV (Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation) -- Goals To develop a comprehensive language assessment of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and phonology between ages 4 and 9. To be able to determine whether language variation in children is due to Development, Dialect, Delay, or Disorder. To create a test that is not biased against dialect speakers, especially African-American English speakers.

8 Collaborators Peggy Speas Angelika Kratzer Christina Foreman Barbara Pearson Eliane Ramos Lisa Selkirk Lisa Green Lamya Abdulkarim Shelley Velleman Toya Wyatt Bart Hollebrandse Fred Hall Mike Dickey Linda Bland Debra Garrett Mike Terry Tempe Champion Minjoo Kim Janice Jackson Laura Wagner Ida Stockman DJaris Coles Robin Schafer Deanna Moore Valerie Johnson Kristen Asplin Joe Pater Tim Bryant Frances Burns Caroline Jones The Psychological Corporation Uri Strauss

9 Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation (DELV) Variation in speech and language development Variation in speech and language disorders Variation in speech and language dialects

10 The DELV Tests DELV-Screening Test (3/25/03) –Identifies language variation status –Identifies students at risk for a disorder DELV-Criterion Referenced Test (Spring, 03) –Diagnose speech and language disorders Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatic, Phonology DELV-Standardized Version (2005) –Standardized exclusively on AAE children

11 General Results of the DELV Field Testing -- The Subject Sample 1014 four to nine year olds, most of them from working class backgrounds and from all regions of the USA. There were 217 four-year-olds, 266 five-year-olds, 300 six-year-olds, 56 seven- year-olds, 101 eight-year-olds and 74 nine-year-olds. Approximately 60% of the children were characterized by the testing clinicians as speakers of African American English (AAE), the other 40% as speakers of Mainstream American English (MAE). AAE and MAE children were matched for parental education level. Approximately 1/3rd of the children at each age and in each dialect group were identified by the participating clinicians and schools as having a specific language-impairment and were receiving language services. 10 to 15% of the children spread equally across ages and dialect groups were diagnosed as having phonological or articulation problems.

12 DELV-SCR Structure The test has a screener version (DELV-SCR) that takes 15 to 20 minutes to administer. The screener contains morphosyntax and phonology Identifier Items on which AAE-speaking children produce systematically different responses from MAE. It also contains a set of Diagnostic Items designed to tell the clinician whether further testing is needed because the child is at risk for language delay or impairment.

13 Screener Morphosyntax Identifier Items Have/has (The girl have (has) a big kite) 3rd person present tense s (The girl always sleep(s).) Doesnt/dont (This girl dont (doesnt) like to play basketball.) Be copula forms (They was (were) sick)

14 Screener Phonology Identifier Items Substitution f/th: bath --->baf Substitution v/th: breathe --->breav or bread Zero Cluster Element: gift--->gif

15 Language Variation Status Mainstream American English (MAE) Some Variation from MAE Strong Variation from Mae

16 Performance of the different dialect and impairment status groups on the Identifier Items on the DELV-SCR (Non-mainstream responses).

17 Major Theories of SLI Difficulty with morphosyntax: (Leonard, Rice). Difficulty repeating nonsense words (Bishop) Difficulty with variables and embedded clauses (Penner, Roeper & Seymour, van der Lely)

18 Screener Diagnostic Items Past tense was/were auxiliary and copula forms (obligatory in both MAE and AAE). Elliptical Possessive pronoun (obligatory in both MAE and AAE). Thsee are for morphosyntax. Non-word Repetition (for memory problems) Wh-Question Comprehension (for variables and embedding)

19 Performance of typically developing and language impaired children on the Diagnostic Items on the DELV-SCR (Errors)

20 Performance of MAE and AAE speaking children on the Diagnostic Items on the DELV-SCR (Errors)

21 Is a screener enough? A screener is just that: it does not diagnose. A practitioner needs to know more precisely what the childs areas of difficulties are, for both accurate diagnosis and design of remediation. The DELV-CR goes deeper, and checks what the results of the screener mean.

22 Characteristics of the DELV-CR The DELV-CR (criterion-referenced test) has 11 subtest components organized into four language domains. Syntax = Wh-Q comprehension, Passives comprehension, Articles production. Pragmatics = Wh-Q asking, Communicative Role Taking (production), Narrative. Semantics = Verb contrast production, Preposition contrast production, Quantifier comprehension, and Syntactic Bootstrapping/Fast mapping. Phonology

23 Components of The DELV SYNTAX Domain Question TypeCore Concepts WH-QUESTION COMPREHENSION Variables Movement PASSIVESMovement Hidden properties ARTICLESDiscourse properties (something in a prior sentence making requirements on an element in a subsequent sentence)

24 ARTICLES: TESTING REQUIREMENTS OF DISCOURSE PROPERTIES Does the child carry information from one sentence into another? Ex. A bird flew out of a cage because something was open? What was it? THE door (nor A door) Has the child learned to interpret articles as reference to context?

25 Examples of eliciting questions Part-the: Sally was eating an ice-cream cone when suddenly- slosh! something fell out and she only had the cone left. What was it? (THE icecream) Familiar-the: A cat and a bird were sitting in a tree. They were friends. One of them flew out of the tree. Guess which. (THE bird) Specific-a: I'll bet you have something hanging on the wall of your room at home. What is it? (A picture) Non-referential-a: Tyrone is going to take a nap, and he wants to cuddle with something,. What does he need? (A blanket) Predicational-a: Think of a baseball player. Can you imagine what one looks like? What does he have? (A glove)

26 Wh-factors: Query: what is that Echo: you ate WHAT Exclamative: What nice clothes you have! Indirect question: he knows what to do => not answered Relative clause: the man who you saw Discourse connected: John has 3 hats. Which is best?

27 Core CONCEPT #1 IN SYNTAX on the DELV I. Principles of MOVEMENT Simple: I saw a boy, a girl, and a dog. => What did I see ( - ) ? Complex: What did she say she saw ( - )? Does the child get complex movement right?

28 Core Syntactic Concept #1 on the DELV (cont) Does the child know… 1. Where the WH word originates What did he eat ( - )? When did she say ( - ) she lost her purse (- )? 2. When certain structures "block" certain meanings: Ex. When did she say how she lost her purse? can only mean "when did she SAY it not When did she lose it?

29 Core Syntactic CONCEPT #2 on the DELV II. VARIABLES (words that are intended to refer not to a single referent, but to members of a set) Examples: Simple Question (1 variable). (I saw a boy, a girl, and a dog.) What did I see? what = set of objects (boy, girl, dog) Who was at dinner? who = the 5 or 6 individuals at dinner

30 Core Syntactic CONCEPT #2 on the DELV (cont) II. b. Complex Variables 2 variables in the same sentence: who bought what? requires reference to all the members in the 2 sets in an ordered relation: Person 1 bought Thing 1 Person 2 bought Thing 2 Does the child get variable properties right?

31 Core Syntactic CONCEPT #2 on the DELV (cont) Does the child know how to answer Double WH-questions: Who ate what? How did she play what? Requires set answers to BOTH questions –(he and she, chocolate and vanilla) Not just listed, but PAIRED. Ex. HE ate CHOCOLATE, and SHE ate VANILLA.

32 Testing Complex WH-Question Comprehension We test this: 1) Can children answer both parts of a double-WH? 2) Can children answer questions whose site of origin is far away (long distance)? and 3) Can children appropriately block meanings that the grammar doesnt allow, i.e.when there is a barrier?

33 Wh-Question Comprehension: Testing Procedure The child is told a brief story about a pictured event. They are then asked the key test question about some aspect of the event. The pictured events and stories support several possible interpretations of the question.

34 Typical Answers to double WH questions PAIRED, EXHAUSTIVE responses –Ex. She played the piano with her hands and the drums with her feet. SINGLETONS (Incorrect) –One element: piano with her feet –Both objects, no instruments: piano and drums –One pair: the piano with her hands. OTHER –She played a lot. She was playing.

35 Double WH Response Types by Age and Language Status (N = 1014, 708 Typically Developing, 306 Language Impaired)

36 Typical Answers to False Clause questions LONG DISTANCE (LD) TWO CLAUSE responses –Ex. She said she bought paper towels. ONE CLAUSE responses (Incorrect) –Ex. (She bought) a birthday cake. OTHER –a surprise a bag I dont know.

37 LD False Clause Response Types by Age and Language Status (N = 1014)

38 Long distance movement barriers We also tested children on long distance movement, and respect for a variety of barrier effects: wh-islands: How did the girl ask how to ride? Who did the girl ask what to bring? relative clauses: How did the boy who sneezed drink the milk? empty operators: Where did the boy buy the lemonade to splash on his face?

39 Typical Answers toWH-barriers questions SHORT DISTANCE responses –(How did she learn…?) By watching TV.. MEDIAL ANSWERS (Incorrect) –(…what to bake?) a cake LONG DISTANCE responses (Incorrect) –(How…..bake?) With a pudding mix, With a spoon OTHER –Ex. She didnt know how.

40 WH Barrier Response Types by Age and Language Status (N = 1014)

41 Summary of barrier effects All the barriers were obeyed well even in LI but the rate of errors was higher in LI children. The most prevalent error was answering the medial, an error type that persists in LI. No children answer the who complementizer in the relative clause, despite superficial equivalence.

42 The Echo-Exhaustive distinction Echo questions differ from real wh questions in several ways: What did the children eat? The children ate what?

43 Differences Echo questions ask for the missing constituent, real wh for an exhaustive answer Echo questions can be substitute for a part of a constituent, real wh cannot: The boy said he bought a big blue what? * What did the boy say he bought a big blue t?

44 Previous tests Mari Takahashi (1991) tested whether 3 year olds respected this distinction and got nice contrasting results: more exhaustive for real wh, more constituents for echo questions. A student pilot study reported in de Villiers and Roeper 1995 found intonation insignificant for distinguishing the two.

45 Echo/Exhaustive Distinction by age

46 Wh-Question Asking Elicitation Procedure The child is shown a picture with something missing from it. They have to ask the right question to find out what the event is about. The missing elements of the pictures include objects, people, locations, tools, and causes of emotions -- so what, who, where, how, and why questions are motivated. Different levels of prompting are given for each trial if the child does not spontaneously ask an appropriate question -- varying from the semantic domain of the question to ask, to the specific wh-word to begin the question with. If the child asks an appropriate question they are shown the complete picture.

47 Wh-Question production in MAE and AAE speaking children following all prompts.

48 Wh-Question production in typically developing and language impaired children following all prompts.

49 Production of Double Wh-Questions by Typically-developing and Language-impaired Children following all prompts

50 Why is semantics a challenge? Bias of acquired vocabulary tests: too culturally dependent? Want to look at process: CAN the child learn a new word easily? For older children, lexical organization/retrieval may be more significant than size of vocabulary.

51 Three Semantics tests Novel verb learning/fast mapping - gets at the process of learning a new word Verb contrasts Preposition contrasts - these get at lexical organization and contrasts

52 Syntactic Bootstrapping and Fast Mapping of Word Meanings from Context Children acquire a verbs meaning in part through the argument frames in which it appears. This phenomenon of fast mapping of meanings from context is often called syntactic bootstrapping. We test how much children can learn from intransitives, transitives, datives, and complement argument frames. Nonsense verbs were used in these frames to describe strange actions in ambiguous contexts. The child then answered questions about the verb and its subjects and/or objects.

53 Procedure The child saw a picture that contained at least two events. S/he heard a sentence about it containing either a REAL or a NOVEL verb. The child had to answer a set of questions about the picture that are designed to test which action s/he has associated with the verb.

54 Argument structures Intransitive: one argument E.g. the dog is barking Transitive: two arguments E.g. The boy poured the drink Dative: three arguments E.g. The mailman handed the letter to the boy Complement: three arguments E.g. The policeman asked the woman to stop the car

55 Question types ING e.g Which one is zanning? (agent) ER e.g. Which one is the zanner? (agent) Got-ED e.g. Which one got zanned? (patient) ABLE e.g. Which one is zannable? (patient) Subj-comp e.g. Which one did she sug (e) to send the ball? Obj-comp e.g. Which one did she sug the man to send (e)?

56 Verb Contrasts How do children organize their lexicon for easy retrieval of e.g. contrasts or opposites? Waxman & Hatch studied noun organization in 3 year olds e.g. plant flower rose We decided to focus on verbs because a) less culturally biased b) maybe disordered in SLI (Rice) Tried to elicit different verbs from the children for the same picture depending on the prompt, to tap versatility and organization of verb lexicon.

57 Procedure The child sees a picture (of a man crawling out of a building) and is told e.g. The man is not WALKING, hes…? (crawling) THEN, for the same picture: The man is not ENTERING the building, hes…? (going out)

58 Preposition contrasts Finally, we decided to tap preposition contrasts in the same way, to see if children could handle the different semantic and grammatical forms they take. The format is the same as for verb contrasts, i.e. we prompt for two different prepositions per picture.

59 Prompts to picture Shes not looking at the radio, shes listening... (to the radio) Shes not lifting the chair, shes sitting... (under the chair)

60 Development of MAE and AAE speaking children on the Semantics Domain Score

61 Development of typically developing and language impaired children on the Semantics Domain Score

62 Double Questions Among the questions we elicited were double wh-questions such as: Who is eating what? Or Which person is eating which food?

63 Singleton answers by age

64 II. General Background: Quantification 1. Problems with quantification (Roeper and DeVilliers (1991) a. A boy saw every fish. He raised his eyebrow. => fish, not boy

65

66

67 Mathematics: Does every boy have three shovels? => boy-shovel boy-shovel boy-shovel Answer: "no", but ask a 7yr old and many will say "yes" Do the boys have three shovels? ambiguous: 1. each one has three shovels 2. they have three shovels altogether

68

69 No Quantifier Hypothesis: Wh- Singletons and Control-No Failure

70 Correlation of Wh-singletons and Control-No Wh-exhaustivity errors: Quantifier errors: % children who show one Q error, have 1or 2 wh- errors - 40% children who show two Q, errors, have 1or 2 wh-errors

71 Significance Results are highly significant (statistically): Chi-squared analysis result: p < (i.e. probability that the 2 effects are independent and only appear to be related by accident is less than 0.1%.

72 Wh without every? Singleton => wh-without "every" Control-no => no comprehension of every Conclusion: Children must learn: => wh- contains hidden "every" LI children: fail to recognize this factor

73

74 Spreading incidence Quantifier Spreading: Prominent until a late age for all children LI children definitely show Q-spreading, but many Normals do as well until a late age. Spreading exists for all, some, every, most And may disappear differentially

75 Key Features of the Pragmatics Assessment Procedures on the DELV-CR They test the interaction of syntactic and semantic forms with specific pragmatic functions -- assessment of pragmatic skills cannot be divorced from the forms that are needed for those functions of language. They sample a range of simpler to more complex syntactic forms that serve the same communicative functions. They assess pragmatic skills that are important for early school success and literacy development. The materials are all picture-based so they require minimal technology and can be administered and scored by a single clinician interacting with the child.

76 Wh-Question Asking Elicitation Procedure The child is shown a picture with something missing from it. They have to ask the right question to find out what the event is about. The missing elements of the pictures include objects, people, locations, tools, and causes of emotions -- so what, who, where, how, and why questions are motivated. Different levels of prompting are given for each trial if the child does not spontaneously ask an appropriate question -- varying from the semantic domain of the question to ask, to the specific wh-word to begin the question with. If the child asks an appropriate question they are shown the complete picture.

77

78 Narratives Narratives have three important components: Coherence = use of required story grammar components Cohesion = a. use of linguistic devices to establish, maintain, and specify referents (e.g., articles and pronouns, or referent characterizing expressions) b. expression of causal and temporal links between events in the story. Adopting different perspectives on the events -- inside versus outside view -- landscape of action versus landscape of consciousness (Bruner, 1986). This depends on having a theory of mind.

79 Narrative Samples from the DELV-CR I want my train. Im gonna hide the train from him. Im gonna play out of the toy box. Im gonna find that train. Bring that train. (C: 4;2) He was looking for the choo choo train because the other boy was playin. And then… and then he said, I want that choo choo train back, and umm… he put it in his toy box. And then he came back to find it and he looked under the bed and it wasnt there. (SC: 4;9)

80 More Narrative Samples from the DELV-CR The big boy came into the little boys room and took away the little boys train. Then he hid it under the boys bed where he couldnt get it. Then the little boy… when he left… he got out his train and put it in the toy box while the big boy was eating. Then the big boy thought about the train and he went under the bed to go see it but it wasnt there. (A: 6;4) The little brother was trying to get his toy from the big brother. And the big brother hiding his toy under the bed. When he is eating his sandwich, the little boy go and get it and put it inside of his toy box. When his big brother walk in, he think about the train and he look under his bed for it. (J: 6;3)

81 Development of reference contrast in narratives (contrasting the two main characters) in typically developing MAE and AAE speaking children.

82 Development of reference contrast in narratives (contrasting the two main characters) in typically developing and language impaired children.

83 Development of the expression of temporal links between events in the narratives of typically developing MAE and AAE speaking children.

84 Development of the expression of temporal links between events in the narratives of typically developing and language impaired children.

85 Development of theory of mind explanations for the characters mistaken action in the picture narrative (typically developing MAE versus AAE speaking children).

86 Development of theory of mind explanations for the characters mistaken action in the picture narrative (typically developing versus language impaired children).

87 Communicative Role Taking and Understanding Speech Acts Children not only need to produce different kind of speech acts at appropriate times (e.g., asking for information, requesting action, rejecting or denying, prohibiting etc.); they also need to understand the circumstances and force of those utterances in other people. The children were shown pictures in which a person was communicating to another about some object or event that was clearly depicted. They were asked what the characters were telling (reporting an observed event), asking, or saying (prohibiting an action), depending on the scenario.

88 Development of appropriate speech act production in a communicative role taking context (MAE versus AAE speaking children)

89 Development of appropriate speech act production in a communicative role taking context (typically developing versus language impaired children).

90 –25 target phonemic Clusters –Cluster targets only--two and three elements –Initial and medial positions of words only –Phonotactic Properties Phonology Structure

91 Phonology Format –Sentence repetition –Cartoon illustrations –Carrier Phrase--I see…

92

93

94 Typical Answers to False Clause questions LONG DISTANCE (LD) TWO CLAUSE responses –Ex. She said she bought paper towels. ONE CLAUSE responses (Incorrect) –Ex. (She bought) a birthday cake. OTHER –a surprise a bag I dont know.

95 WH-False Clause Example Responses from field testing CHILD A (12663) A cake CHILD B (18221) Paper towels 1 clause answer 0 points 2-clause answer (long distance) 1 point

96 Item Type 3 Barrier to Long Distance Movement Note: Childrens ability to give LD answers (without embedded false clause) was tested in piloting and then in the DSLT Tryout testing. 90% of the children ages 4-6 and 95% of the children 7-10 gave at least one Long Distance answer, so for reasons of time, simple Long Distance items do not appear on the DELV.

97 Typical Answers toWH-barriers questions SHORT DISTANCE responses –(How did she learn…?) By watching TV.. MEDIAL ANSWERS (Incorrect) –(…what to bake?) a cake LONG DISTANCE responses (Incorrect) –(How…..bake?) With a pudding mix, With a spoon OTHER –Ex. She didnt know how.

98 WH-barrier Example Responses 2 Who did she ask what to buy? CHILD A (12663) bologna CHILD B (18221) The grocery store lady Medial 0 points Short Distance 1 point

99 Other WH Example Responses CHILD A (12663) 2 correct barriers, 2 barrier violations 1 other CHILD B (18221) 4 correct barriers 1 medial 2 points (of 5) Total:4 of 14 4 points (of 5) Total: 12 of 14

100 Who are these children? CHILD A (12663) 5 years old White Female From South Parents w/ HS education Mainstream English speaker Not receiving speech or language services CHILD B (18221) 4 years old African American boy From north Central US Parents w/ HS education Some difference from MAE Not receiving speech or language services

101 Profiles of semantic problems Purpose: discuss some individual response patterns to show the tasks in detail, the kinds of responses to expect as a function of age of the child, and possible disordered status.

102 1)Fast mapping task The child saw a picture that contained at least two events. S/he heard a sentence about it containing either a REAL or a NOVEL verb. The child had to answer a set of questions about the picture that are designed to test which action s/he has associated with the verb.

103 Six AAE-speaking children

104 Summary This is a demanding task over this age range, but younger children can do some questions easily. In general, transitive is easier than dative, and both are easier than complements. Children with a language disorder have a hard time fast- mapping a new word from the grammar, and make many errors. The task reveals a problem some children may have picking up new words casually from conversation or text: a process increasingly necessary with schooling. They may need more support and repetition than normally developing children.

105 2) Verb Contrasts How do children organize their lexicon for easy retrieval of e.g. contrasts or opposites? Tried to elicit different verbs from the children for the same picture depending on the prompt, to tap versatility and organization of verb lexicon.

106 Examples The child sees a picture (of a man crawling out of a building) and is told e.g. The man is not WALKING, hes…? (crawling) THEN, for the same picture: The man is not ENTERING the building, hes…? (going out) The child is shown a picture of a woman buttoning her coat as she walks out the door. The child is told, Shes not taking off her coat, shes…? (putting it on) And then: She not undressing, shes…? (dressing)

107 Six AAE-speaking children

108 Summary Normally developing children have flexibility in describing a scene, and can find the right level to describe it at given the prompt. Language-disorded children have less flexibility and also dont hit the right contrast so easily. They use more all -purpose or vague verbs. This suggests the verb lexicon is an area of concern for children with language difficulties: both incomplete, and poorly organized into contrasts.

109 Prompts to picture Shes not looking at the radio, shes listening... (to the radio) Shes not lifting the chair, shes sitting... (under the chair)

110 Six AAE-speaking children

111 Summary As with the verb contrasts, language- disordered children show difficulty finding the right preposition. Sometimes they omit one, sometimes they use an odd form e.g. down the chair instead of under the chair. Their lexicon of prepositions may be poorly organized too.

112 Overall Summary The three AAE-speaking children who are normally developing reveal similar strengths across these semantic tasks.They all pass the DELV. The three AAE-speaking children identified as possibly disordered show marked problems across the semantic tasks. They all fail the DELV. It is possible that existing tests that look at MAE morphology and at acquired vocabulary normed on MAE would pick out all six as disordered.

113 Communicative Role Taking and Understanding Speech Acts Children not only need to produce different kind of speech acts at appropriate times (e.g., asking for information, requesting action, rejecting or denying, prohibiting etc.); they also need to understand the circumstances and force of those utterances in other people. The children were shown pictures in which a person was communicating to another about some object or event that was clearly depicted. They were asked what the characters were telling (reporting an observed event), asking, or saying (prohibiting an action), depending on the scenario.

114 Four-year-old AAE Children

115 Six-year-old AAE Children

116 Narrative Uniquely specifying referents -- telling my listener(s) who and what I am referring to. Linking meaning across referents and events -- expression of temporal relationships. Marking point of view -- appreciating different perspectives on events -- having a theory of mind.

117 Four-year-old AAE Children

118 Six-year-old AAE Children

119 Conclusions We have shown that the assessment of complex aspects of childrens syntactic development between the ages of 4 and 9 can be carried out in a dialect neutral fashion. These materials and procedures capture the development of several aspects of language that are vital for success in early schooling and the transition to literacy. They provide the clinician with a substantial profile of the child language strengths and weaknesses, not just a diagnostic categorization. As such they provide a much richer evaluation of language variation and its sources that has direct implications for areas and methods of intervention.


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