Moving Beyond Mean Length of Utterance: Analyzing Language Samples to Identify Intervention Targets Mean length of utterance is a useful metric for assessment; however, it has limited utility when planning intervention. When developing intervention plans, researchers have encouraged clinicians to move beyond mean length of utterance by adopting a broader perspective of grammatical development that includes analyzing language samples for grammatical morphemes, as ... Article
Article  |   February 26, 2018
Moving Beyond Mean Length of Utterance: Analyzing Language Samples to Identify Intervention Targets
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert E. Owens, Jr.
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
  • Stacey L. Pavelko
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Dennis Bambinelli
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Robert E. Owens, Jr., has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Stacey L. Pavelko has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Dennis Bambinelli has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Robert E. Owens, Jr., has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Stacey L. Pavelko has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Dennis Bambinelli has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Robert E. Owens, Jr., has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Stacey L. Pavelko has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Dennis Bambinelli has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Robert E. Owens, Jr., has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Stacey L. Pavelko has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Dennis Bambinelli has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Part 1
Article   |   February 26, 2018
Moving Beyond Mean Length of Utterance: Analyzing Language Samples to Identify Intervention Targets
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, February 2018, Vol. 3, 5-22. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.5
History: Received July 10, 2017 , Revised October 10, 2017 , Accepted December 7, 2017
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, February 2018, Vol. 3, 5-22. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.5
History: Received July 10, 2017; Revised October 10, 2017; Accepted December 7, 2017

Mean length of utterance is a useful metric for assessment; however, it has limited utility when planning intervention. When developing intervention plans, researchers have encouraged clinicians to move beyond mean length of utterance by adopting a broader perspective of grammatical development that includes analyzing language samples for grammatical morphemes, as well as use of complex syntax, noun phrase elaboration, and verb phrase elaboration. The purpose of this study is to identify at which age 80% of children used specific elements of elaborated noun phrases (ENPs), elaborated verb phrases (EVPs), and grammatical morphemes in 50 utterance language samples. This article will then present a case study describing how to use the data when analyzing a language sample to identify potential intervention goals and targets.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank Emily Edwards who developed the first version of the Guide to SUGAR Terms and Examples and gave us permission to revise it. We would also like to thank our analysis team: Maggie Hadlock, Heidi Pappert, and Ashley Saunders.
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