ECER 2019 – The European Conference on Educational Research. Hamburgo (Alemania). 2019.
The prevalence of language disorders in school-age children, without additional signs of genetic or neurological disorders, is 2 percent to 3 percent. The training plan in Europe for this group is not standardised, that is why this work describes a stimulating oral language method that has been used in a nursery school in Palencia (Spain), with the goal of being used as reference with the Doman’s flash cards method for this specific group, with a high prevalence in the school context.
The Doman method includes different programs: reading, music, mathematics, physical program, and finally intellligence program that is based on “flash cards”. The “Flash cards” have been defended on the basis of children’s great capacity for learning and absorbing information. With the objective of developing their attention, facilitating children’s teaching-learning process and prevent disorders, Doman uses the “flash cards” (10x10 white cardboards, with the image and the red word written) which are shown in 10 sets of flash cards, three or four times a day, each card is shown during one second (the speed in showing the cards is directly related to children’s interest), at the same time that the children watch the card, it is necessary to say the word loudly and clearly. According to Doman, the words are to be elected according to their semantic category: marine animals, terrestrial animals, vegetables, drinks, clothing items… There is a strong possibility that after several sessions the children will recognize the card.
Doman founded the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) to disseminate and use his method. In view of the controversy that this method raises –it was criticized in the publications because of the lack of serious scientific articles that support the effectiveness, the high demand (of time and economic) for the families and the anxiety that causes to them-, it surprises that it continues being employed in wide professional sectors.
Actually, The Doman method is also used to stimulate the language of a group with disabilities (autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down syndrome, etc.) but it has not been used in subjects with language disorders; hence the importance of the present study, in which we intend to use an adapted form of the bits of intelligence, to stimulate the oral language of children between 3 to 5 years diagnosed with language disorder, from an educational perspective.
The methology that has been accomplished and the main conclusions of our study will now be described.
The methodology used is descriptive in order to get to know the necessary adaptations in depth to be able to use the flash cards in 3, 4 and 5-year-old children with language disorders. Therefore, we have used a Case Study (Stake, 2005), within the qualitative paradigm, which has been accomplished through and intervention with the flash cards following the advice given by Doman (2012), in a pedagogical centre in Palencia (Spain), with four males with language impairment whose native language is Spanish, with the exception of one of them whose mother tongue is Brazilian and his paternal tongue is Spanish. Our age range of participants is between 55 and 79 months, on the date of the initial evaluation. The average age range is 70.25 months (σ = 10.56). There are very varied ages in order to observe the evolution and the response in children of different ages. The duration of the study varies between 9 and 15 weeks. As a conclusion, the need to make a series of adaptation in the application process is gathered. The study describes all the errors found with respect to the material and the process of application of the bits, the improvement proposals are explained to readjust the method and to be able to use it with the aim of stimulating the oral language with children with language disorder. This method is described below, and it is already being used by different professionals with four 3-year-old children, five 4-year-old children, and three 5-year-old children, in different locations in Spain -Valladolid, Palencia and Badajoz- two of these interventions are being carried out within the educational environment and the rest outside the educational context. The data collection techniques used are participant observation, parents’ assessment questionnarie, and the assessment of the process of creating the adapted material. This last assessment is made through the analysis of Doman method’s critical literature (E.g. American Academy for Cerebral Palsy et al., 1968, American Academy of Pediatrics 1982, 1968, 1999).
The result of this study is the obtaining of an adapted method to use with children with language disorder. According to the data collected described in the methodology, the following readjustments has been done: 1. Children's oral language will be stimulated, without requiring parents to perform any rehabilitative or educational function with the flash cards at home, since it has been a criticized item (American Academy for Cerebral Palsy et al., 1968). 2. The words used in the bits are chosen among those 3, 4 and 5-year-old children most often say and listen to. For its selection, we used CHIEDE Corpus of Spontaneous Infant Spanish Speech, increasing the cards to 20 cards. We find this characteristic as improvable in the questionnaires for the parents, before the answers to the item: "The children knew, prior to the use of the method, the exposed words" and in the direct observation. 3. Instead of presenting the bits on printed cards, for their visualization they are adapted in a Power Point, so that they are more attractive for children and easy to adapt. This is done so no coma because we notice that it improves the motivation of the children in direct observation. 4. We find it necessary to show the intelligence bits twice a day. The flash cards are taught only by the professional, thus eliminating the need of teaching flash cards on the part of families, since the overload given by this original method is very large (American Academy for Cerebral Palsy et al., 1968, American Academy of Pediatrics 1982, 1968, 1999). Finally, we consider that the use of the flash cards in children with language disorders can be an interesting and beneficial method for the school environment, but given the specific characteristics of this group with language disorders, its application must take into account the proposed adaptations in this work.