1. Craig-Unkefer, Lesley EdD
  2. Camarata, Stephen PhD


Purpose: Facilitating language development in children with specific language impairment (SLI) who are learning African American English (AAE) as their first dialect requires clinicians to consider grammatical, lexical, and cultural differences. The purpose of this article is to examine 2 intervention methods that have an extensive history of validation for general American English-imitation using discrete trials and conversational recast-for use with children who speak AAE.


Methods: Participants in the preliminary study were 4 pre-school-aged AAE-speaking children, who were at-risk for language delays and who used AAE forms. A within-participants design was employed.


Results: Both interventions were associated with growth in contrastive and noncontrastive target structure use. All children increased production of specific language targets that were not observed in baseline samples in AAE or general American English forms, and language scores on posttreatment assessments increased in all participants.


Discussion: Considerations include individualizing interventions on the basis of level of support and understanding the relationship between language learning and culture.