Hepburn internship in language intervention
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Hepburn Internship in Language Intervention. By Emma Cohan http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/preschool-language.jpg. What is Language Delay/ Impairment in Children?.

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Hepburn Internship in Language Intervention

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Hepburn Internship in Language Intervention

By Emma Cohan


What is Language Delay/ Impairment in Children?

  • Language delay: excludes any other primary condition with deficits in comprehension (receptive type), production (expressive type), or both (mixed type)

  • Characteristics include language deficits in semantics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics (also some neurocognitive “soft signs” and socio-behavioral deficits typically)

  • The types norm referenced standards used to diagnose late talking and SLI source of debate. General agreement upon “language endowment spectrum”

Theories of Etiology in Language Impairment

  • Familial: genetic predisposition and child’s conversational environment

  • **Perceptual: accounts for SLI as an auditory processing problem in discriminating and sequencing sounds resulting in a limited processing capacity

  • Linguistic Deficit: accounts for SLI as a problem in the linguistic mechanism of language acquisition (such as in universal grammar)

  • Normal Distribution: accounts for SLI as being the low end of the language endowment spectrum

The areas of language impairment




What is the theory behind intervention?

  • Developmental vs. Functional Approach

  • Drill-Play

  • Reinforcement

  • Specific Techniques: Focused stimulation, Expansion/Extension, Modify Linguistic Input, Joint Routines/Scripts, Joint Book Reading

Description of Sites

  • For my internship I divided the day at two field sites:

  • Mornings spent as an assistant teacher at the Language Enrichment Preschool Program camp run out of the Thorne School

  • Afternoons spent modeling the language stimulation activities learned at LEPP for individual or small groups of targeted children at the Montgomery Early Learning Center of Norristown

A day in the life: LEPP

  • A morning spread of activities including craft and symbolic play set ups related to our story time theme, plus fine motor toys, art, and sensory stimulation

  • Circle time story and child presentation

  • Dramatic, symbolic play interspersed with individual speech therapy

  • Song time

  • Snack and Outdoor play

A day in the life: MELC

  • From three classes,teachers selected students known to have language problems ranging from slight articulation problems, to very little comprehensible language (often including exposure to a different primary language than English at home)

  • Each day I would arrive with a stack of games ranging from sequential narrative puzzles to vocabulary building bingo and specific language processes I planned to target

  • A lot of trial and error, wide range of childrens’ language abilities challenging

What I have come away with from this internship?

  • A much greater academic and practical understanding of language processes and the complex ways in which they can be impaired

  • A first hand understanding of the intervention side of an important psychological domain

  • Confidence in myself as a force for improving the lives of others

  • The joy of spending my summer interacting with such wonderful children!


  • Leonard, L. B. (2009). Is Expressive Language Disorder an Accurate Diagnostic Category? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 18, 115-123.

  • Paul, Rhea (Ed.)(2007). Language Disorders from a Developmental Perspective: Essays in Honor of Robin S. Chapman. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Rescorla, L. (2009). Age 17 Language and Reading Outcomes in Late-Talking Toddlers: Support for a Dimensional Perspective on Language Delay. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52, 16-30.

  • Rescorla, Leslie A., Lee, Eliza C.“Chapter 1: Language Impairment in Young Children” in Layton, T., Crais, E., & Watson, L. (2000). Handbook of Early Language Impairment in Children: Nature. Albany: Delmar.

  • Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (2006). Language Disorders in Children: A Multicultural and Case Perspective. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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