March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/14/2016  |   11:35 AM - 12:05 PM   |  Topical Session 1   |  Towne/Esquire   |  3 - Language Acquisition and Development

Assessing Spoken Language in Toddlers using the Open- & Closed-Set Task (O&C)

Direct assessments of early-emerging spoken language abilities in toddlers who are deaf of hard of hearing are in short supply. This presentation will describe the development and testing of one such measure, the Open and Closed-set task (O&C). The O&C is an objective and developmentally appropriate, criterion-reference tool for assessing a toddler’s ability to imitate and to understand spoken words following cochlear implantation or hearing aid fitting. It is based on the premise that the auditory benefits of cochlear implants and hearing aids will be reflected in advances in phonological skills and receptive vocabulary. Support for this assertion can be found in numerous research reports (e.g., Connor, Craig, Raudenbush, Heavner, & Zwoland, 2006; Geers, Nicholas, & Sedey, 2003; Yoshinaga-Itano & Sedey, 2000). The O&C consists of three, phonetically balanced lists of 10 stimulus words. The stimulus words selected from the expressive vocabularies of typically developing two year-olds (Dale & Fenson, 1996). Lists are given at 6 month intervals during the first 2 years of cochlear implant (CI) or hearing aid (HA) experience. Because the lists are balanced, they can be given in any order. Scores in phoneme accuracy, word acceptability, and word comprehension are gathered at each interval to document improvements in spoken language abilities and to identify children who are making inadequate progress so that adjustments to intervention plans can be made in a timely fashion. Specific topics to be discussed in this presentation include: challenges in assessing very young children, areas assessed by the O&C, development and balancing O&C word lists, administration procedures, and research findings.

  • Attendees will be able to state the advantages of direct assessment of spoken language in toddlers
  • Attendees will be able to discuss the development of the O&C
  • Attendees will become familiar with evidence that supports use of the O&C with toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing

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David Ertmer (Primary Presenter), Purdue University, dertmer@purdue.edu;
David J. Ertmer is former Professor in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He received a B.S. from Marquette University, a M. S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University, all in the field of Communication Disorders. His clinical career includes 17 years as a school speech pathologist in Wisconsin and Colorado. He has conducted research in early speech and language development in young children who are deaf or hard of hearing and taught courses in aural rehabilitation to graduate and undergraduate students.


Financial - Receives Salary for Employment from Purdue University.   Receives Grants for Other activities from National Institutes of Health.   Receives In kind for Teaching and speaking from MED-EL.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.