Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech Pathology

Major Professor

Lori A. Swanson

Committee Members

Ilsa Schwartz, Peter Flipsen, Velvet Buehler, David Wantland


Objective: The purpose of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of Narrative Based Language Intervention (NBLI) with children who have cochlear implants (Cis). The researchers sought to determine in a preliminary study whether a 6-week production-based intervention approach focusing on production of grammatical structure, as well as narrative content and form, would produce similar results in children with Cis as previously shown in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

Participants: Three girls, ages 5;4 - 8;0, participated in the study. Participants were recruited from Child Hearing Services (CHS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The children were all diagnosed with a severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss, had a minimum of two years cochlear implant experience, and scored at or below one standard deviation in relation to the mean on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamental - 4 (Semel, Wig, & Second, 2004) and the Test of Narrative Language (Gillam & Pearson, 2004). The participants all scored within one standard deviation on either the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (Brown, Sherbenou, & Johnson, 1997) or the Leiter International Performance Scale (Roid & Miller, 1997).

Method: Participants went through six weeks of NBLI. Data were gathered via two story retells and two story generations during each probe session. The "Quick Narrative Assessment" presented by Miller, Gillam, and Pena (2001) was implemented in calculating the narrative quality of both retells and generations. The percentage of grammatically correct utterances was calculated for each story. The use of syntactic targets in retells was monitored during and after intervention. Syntactic targets were compared across conversational samples taken prior to intervention, immediately after, and at the three months follow-up.

Results: P1 and P2 made noticeable gains in narrative quality. All three participants made gains regarding syntactic targets. P1 showed significant gains in her use of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. P2 increased her use of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions as well as post modification of nouns. P3 made gains in subordinating conjunctions and post modification of nouns. The results of this study warrant further investigation regarding the use of NBLI with children who have hearing impairments.

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