An Occasional Newsletter of theLanguage Development & Disorders Lab
Communicative Sciences & Disorders
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
This summer semester the Language Development & Disorders Laboratory (LDL) of the Department Audiology & Speech Sciences served as a sponsor site for two McNair/SROP student scholars. Dr. Michael W. Casby, Professor of Audiology & Speech Sciences, served as research mentor to the following two scholars: Nora Sailor and Tamika Lucas. Ms. Sailor is an Audiology & Speech Sciences student at Michigan State University, and Ms. Lucas is a Speech-Language Pathology student at Southern University in Louisiana.
Scholars work with a faculty mentor in conducting research over a selected time period. The Scholars then present their research at local and national McNair/SROP meetings.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and is under the local coordination of Nettavia Curry, Michigan State University, Office of Supportive Services.
It should be noted that the phonemic context of the form is in the example utterances is always the same for experimental control purposes -- the context only differs by the various linguistic/ morphologic functions.
The project is of particular interest given that young children learn the copula and auxiliary forms later than they might learn a noun form, and further, children with language impairments have marked difficulty learning such grammatic forms as the copula and auxiliary is, without demonstrating similar difficulty learning nouns.
One hypothesis of this research was that the acoustic substance of the form is may be less, or briefer, when produced as a grammatical verb form than when produced as part of a noun. This shorter duration may account for the verb forms' later development by children, as well as account for the difficulty in learning the grammatical forms by children with language impairments.
Preliminary results of the research have indeed showed that the morphophonemic form is was of less acoustic duration, and briefer, when produced in either the copula or auxiliary verb context, than when produced in the noun context.
Fundamental Flaws With -- FastForWord*
In this edition of the LDL Babbler, we discuss the roundly hyped and heavily marketed central auditory processing computer-based language intervention (cautionary practice) program of FastForWord. We will take a strong, objective, and critical look at some of the pertinent issues regarding this program.
Flawed Research Control
The research on the the effectiveness of FFW has not routinely examined the participants' actual language for communication use in pre- or post-testing. There are no controlled data to demonstrated gains in the functional-pragmatic usage of language of children after they have completed the intervention program.
Teaching to the Test
Similar Levels of Improvement are Found
Children Make Short-Term Gains on Auditory
Resolution Tasks Without Intervention
FFW Acoustic Modification of Natural
Makes it Unintelligible
Flawed View of Psycholinguistic/Language
In evaluating the demonstrated effectiveness of FastForWord across the following points, it is found to be notably lacking as are other central auditory processing approaches: a) lacking a sound deductive/rational/logical basis, b) lacking a sound theoretical basis, c) lacking sound inductive/empirical support, d) lacking demonstrations of potential for or actual improvement in communication performance, and e) viable and sound alternative explanations, interpretations, etc. exist.
* (Editor's note: The phrase FastForWord and FFW are registered trade names/marks of Scientific Learning Corporation of Berkeley CA. Their use here, or any other reference to them or other products or rights of Scientific Learning Corporation, is for educational purposes. No other purposes are expressed or implied. References for cited research are available upon request.)