Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Let’s talk: Examination of two language sampling analysis techniques for identification of pragmatic language disorders in school-age children

Kaitlyn Bresette


Pragmatics, or the social use of language, is an important communication skill for school-age children but is oftentimes hard to test. While norm-referenced tests are useful for clinicians to compare the child to a normative group, it is hard to capture a child’s pragmatic abilities in these kinds of tests. This leaves clinicians with an incomplete picture of the child’s language abilities and a clear need for additional ways to assess a child’s pragmatic abilities to appropriately plan intervention. This research study compares two language sampling analysis techniques to determine which method reveals the pragmatic language concerns reported by parents. The first analysis employed line-by-line coding, which included noting within the transcript the participant’s communication breakdowns and the effectiveness of the repair attempts made, spontaneous responses to examiner’s comments, and elicited responses. The second analysis method was a global rating scale, which rated the participant’s performance on ten different pragmatic behavior categories on a scale of 0 (no concerns) to 3 (significant concerns). The global rating results identified more of the concerns reported by parents than the line-by-line coding results. The data from this research study will be helpful to future clinicians as they decide which analysis method to use when assessing a child’s pragmatic language abilities.