Bonnie Brinton, PhD and Martin Fujiki, PhD Communication Disorders
Introduction: We were extremely grateful to receive a 2016 Mentored Environment Grant. Our
project was entitled Enhancing Social, Emotional, and Language Learning in Children with
Language Impairment. The purpose of this project was to employ a multiple baseline, single
subject design to investigate the efficacy of a social communication intervention designed to
foster emotional and language learning simultaneously for children with developmental language
disorders (language impairment). The treatment program was designed to be administered
within the service delivery model (and constraints) of the public school system.
Evaluation of How Well the Academic Objectives of the Proposal Were Met: We aimed to
conduct this intervention within the public schools because our over-arching research aim is to
design effective treatments that can be carried out in the context where children with language
impairment actually receive their speech-language pathology services. In other words, we are
committed to devising effective interventions that would be available to all children who needed
them. This meant that we had to get permission to work in the schools, establish relationships
with special service providers responsible for children, select and recruit children to participate,
and work within the public school schedule. The school we worked with was very cooperative,
but we did not begin this portion of our project as soon as we had hoped. This set our timeline
back. Initially, in Fall, 2016, we identified children for the study, obtained the appropriate
permissions, and administered testing measures to describe participants’ developmental profiles.
During Winter semester, 2017, we administered pre-intervention probes and conducted one 10-
week intervention program where we worked with each child participant for two treatment
sessions per week. We performed follow-up testing finishing in April, 2017. We then worked to
analyze data. We identified and tested another group of children and completed another
additional 10-week intervention program starting in September, 2017 and finishing in December
Basically, we have collected all our data as promised. We have analyzed portions of the data
collected from the first intervention period (January-April 2017). For the data collection period
ending in December, 2017, we are continuing transcription and analysis of the pre and post
intervention testing and probes as well as the intervention sessions and probes. These analyses
are not yet completed, but we are working on them.
Evaluation of the Mentoring Environment:
We involved both undergraduate and graduate students in this project. First, we met with all
students on our research team to help them to understand the rationale, goals, and methods used
in the project. Then, we assigned each student a specified role on the team with significant
responsibilities. Undergraduate students assisted with various aspects of the data collection and
analysis. Graduate students also assisted with these aspects, but in addition, they played
coordinating and project management roles interacting with undergraduates and the public
school personnel. The undergraduate and graduate students worked very well as a team. They
performed testing measurements, administered probes, videotaped all sessions, and conducted
the intervention program. We met with them regularly for research meetings where we evaluated
the progress of the project, dealt with the inevitable difficulties in working in real-life settings,
discussed the child participants’ needs, and made adjustments as necessary. We also met with
the research team regularly when we were in the process of preparing presentations to
disseminate our work.
List of Students who participated and the Academic Deliverables: The following students
received MEG funding to work on this project.
Capri Seaberg ASHA
Julia Vincent Hetherton (Vincent) ASHA
Sara Seeley (Avila) ASHA
Each of these students was involved in presentations at the David O McKay School of Education
Mentored Research Conferences either in 2016 and/or 2017. Additional products are listed
below. Student names are bolded:
Presentations at the American Speech Language Hearing Association Annual Convention (the
flagship conference in our discipline):
Brinton, B., Fujiki, M., Bell, B. & Robinson, L. (2016) The ability of children with LI to infer
emotion in context. Presentation at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association
Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 2016
Brinton, B., Fujiki, M., Asai, N., & Robinson, L. (2017, Nov.). Can children with LI describe
mental states in story narratives? Does it help to ask? Poster session presented at the
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Los Angeles, CA.
Brinton, B., Fujiki, M., Harlow, M., Peterson, C., Vincent, J., Luddington, A., & Seaberg, C.
(2017, Nov.). The efficacy of a story-based intervention to enhance sociability in
children with language impairment. Poster session presented at the American Speech-
Language-Hearing Association Convention, Los Angeles, CA.
Journal article recently submitted for publication
Brinton, B., Fujiki, M. & Asai, N. (2018) “The Ability of Five Children with Developmental
Language Disorder to Describe Mental States in Stories” currently under review.
Master’s Theses Completed:
Breanna Bell, 2017, Using a Social Communication Intervention to Increase Emotion Word Use
in Children with Language Impairment
Naomi Asai, 2017: The Ability of Five Children with Language Impairment to Describe Mental
State in Story Narratives in Spontaneous and Prompted Condition: Does It Help to Ask?
Cammy Peterson, 2017: The Efficacy of a Literature-Based Social Communication Intervention
on Teacher Report of Withdrawal for Children with Language Impairment
Students Currently Working on Theses Using Data generated from this Project:
Julia Hetherton (Vincent) ASHA
Sara Seeley (Avila) ASHA
Description of Results/Findings of this Project: We have collected all our data as promised.
We have analyzed portions of the data collected from the first intervention period (January-April
2017). Because we were set back in terms of our timeline, although we have gathered all our
data, but we still need to analyze half of it (gathered from September to December, 2017).
Our preliminary findings (from the January to April intervention program) investigating the
efficacy of the treatment program to improve sociability indicate that prior to intervention, all
children were rated at least one standard deviation below the mean on both impulse
control/likeability and prosocial subtypes of sociability. Following the intervention, ratings for
four of the five children showed improvement in prosocial behavior. Two of these children were
rated within a standard deviation of the mean for their age and gender. On the impulse
control/likeability subscale, two children’s scores remained the same pre-and post-treatment, one
child’s rating improved slightly, and two children’s scores decreased. These results suggested
that teachers reported markedly improved prosocial behavior for four of the five children
following the intervention program even though problems with impulse control/likeability
persisted. The improvement was associated with the treatment focus on emotion understanding.
Additional findings regarding the ability of children with LI to describe mental states in story
narratives suggested that the ability of these children to understand the intentions, motivations,
and emotions of characters in stories is constrained by their limited emotion knowledge. This
finding underscores the importance of intervention programs (such as the one we implemented)
that target language processing as well and social and emotional learning.
Description of How the Budget was Spent: Because we were set back in terms of our timeline
(we gathered all the data but were not able to analyze data from the collection period ending in
December, 2017), we did not spend all of the allotted funds. As of 1/31/18, we had spent the
Student wages: 9400.00
Supplies: 604.68 (intervention materials, poster presentations, transcription pedal, etc.)
Student travel: 159.18 (travel to the 2017 ASHA Convention in Los Angeles, CA)