Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



One essential component of clinical practice in the field of speech-language pathology is eliciting language to assess an individual’s communication abilities. Language becomes more sophisticated during the adolescent stage of development, particularly in the areas of vocabulary and complexity of sentence structures used. The current protocols used to evaluate adolescents are limited in their ability to elicit and analyze language samples, resulting in decreased effectiveness of identifying adolescents with language disorders. Preliminary data was collected at Western Kentucky University in 2018 regarding a new language sampling technique, the Dixit Method (DM), to elicit more lexically diverse language than standard interview procedures. The purpose of this research was to examine the language production of early adolescents diagnosed with specific language impairment (SLI) compared to typically developing peers on the DM. Language samples were elicited using the DM, a game-style interaction using richly illustrated picture cards, from participants recruited from Warren County Public Schools. Language samples were analyzed using the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) software for analysis. Two significant differences were found when comparing the groups: type token ratio was predictably higher in the typical group, while the SLI group surprisingly used more specialized vocabulary words than their typical peers. The DM elicited significantly more language than the interview, with a maximum word count of 1508 in comparison to the interview’s maximum word count of 149. Results indicated the Expressive Vocabulary Test, 2nd Edition standardized assessment scores did not vii predict performance on either language sampling method. The evidence presented indicates that the Dixit Method has potential to elicit lexically diverse language samples to help guide future assessment and intervention for early adolescents with SLI.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Janice Carter Smith, Dr. Leigh Anne Roden-Carrier, Ms. Siera Bramschreiber


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Elementary Education | Special Education and Teaching | Speech Pathology and Audiology