Language Disorders: A Functional Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Children

Seventh Edition

Robert E. Owens, Jr.

Details: 759 pages, 2-Color, Softcover, 8.5" x 11"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-413-2

© 2024 | Available

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Thoroughly updated to meet the needs of today’s students in communication sciences and disorders programs, Language Disorders: A Functional Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Children, Seventh Edition is a comprehensive overview of language disorders and clinical practice with a focus on the child’s overall communication effectiveness. Unlike other texts that have a disorder-specific focus, this book emphasizes a functional and holistic approach to assessment and intervention by shifting the perspective to how a child uses the language feature targeted and how assessment can consider language as it’s used. The author presents intervention methods in a system of least prompts, followed by information on each area of language and literacy. Generalization is foremost throughout the text.

Known for writing numerous bestselling textbooks related to speech-language pathology, the author approaches this complex subject in a practical matter while maintaining a conversational writing style that resonates with students.

Key Features

  •  Each chapter begins with a case example
  •  Information on children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is woven into each chapter
  • “Food for Thought” boxes invite students to move beyond the text and consider the implications for assessment and intervention of the material
  •  Key terms are highlighted throughout and included in a handy glossary
  •  Numerous tables provide easy reference on the many techniques and norms
  • Multiple appendices include additional practical information 

New to the Seventh Edition

  • New and improved modern layout with color enhancements
  •  600+ new references highlighting the latest theoretical and evidence-based practices
  •  Greater focus on discussions of assessment of children with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 
  •  New section on developmental language disorders (DLD), with new and more inclusive terms 
  •  Increased emphasis on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 
  •  The chapters on language and narrative analysis have been strengthened and consolidated into one
  •  Increased number of figures and tables


PluralPlus online ancillary materials:
For Instructors: PowerPoint Lecture Slides, Test Bank, and a Sample Syllabus

For Students: Practice Quizzes and eFlashcards

Instructor test bank available on the Respondus Test Bank Network



“…The book is written for students and practitioners in speech-language pathology. It is an excellent resource for master's level SLP students. Because of the author's instructional and practical writing style and how he approaches issues in an almost conversational manner, it also is appropriate for undergraduate students. New and seasoned SLPs can benefit from the content, examples, focus on generalization, and current evidence-based discussions and practical suggestions in the book. In particular, school-based SLPs will benefit from the discussions on classroom intervention and assessment and remediation of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The author is not only a respected expert in the field of speech-language pathology who has written numerous texts, but is also a skilled instructor, which is evident by his writing style.
This book thoroughly describes language assessment and intervention in numerous contexts. This is accomplished within 13 chapters, each of which begins with a case study. The first three chapters focus on the author's approach and overview of language disorders in specific populations. Five chapters address assessment from preschool and school-age children, including instruction and description of language sample analysis. Five chapters discuss intervention and take a functional approach describing what to address in intervention and how to teach it. The final two chapters address literacy and classroom intervention. Eight appendices provide helpful additions, such as a list of formalized language measures, language sampling materials, and intervention techniques and activities. The book is readable and almost conversational as the author describes each assessment technique intervention, incorporating numerous examples. The book focuses on early intervention through school-aged children, with adolescent language and intervention specifically addressed minimally relative to the rest of the book. There are 70 pages of references and a helpful glossary and index at the end of the book.
The seventh edition offers a comprehensive update to the sixth edition and is a thorough and exceptionally written work. The book is an excellent resource for professors and a comprehensible and practical text for graduate and undergraduate students. It also is helpful for those engaged in school-based clinical practice. The book is unique in its thorough didactic approach to the subject…”

–Suzanne M Welty, MA, EdD, CCC, Biola University, from Doody’s Reviews (March 2023)


Chapter 1. A Functional Language Approach
Language and Language Disorders
Traditional and Functional Models

Traditional Intervention Approaches
The Functional Approach

Role of Pragmatics in Intervention

Dimensions of Communication Context

Role of Generalization in Intervention

Variables That Affect Generalization

Evidence-Based Practice
Getting “It”

Chapter 2. Language Disorders

Developmental and Educational Outcomes
Possible Risk and Related Factors

Neurological Basis
Aspects of Language Affected

Information Processing


Diagnostic Categories

Continuum of Function
Broad Groupings
Developmental Language Disorders
Social Communication Disorder


Chapter 3. Language Disorders Associated With Other Disorders

Language Disorders Associated With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Risk Factors
Language Characteristics
Possible Causal Factors

Language Disorders Associated With Learning Disability/Specific Learning Disorder

Language Characteristics
Possible Causal Factors
Dyslexia/Specific Learning Disorder With Impairment in Reading and Writing
Similar Disorders: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder
Seemingly Similar Disorders: Prenatal Drug and Alcohol Exposure

Language Disorders Associated With Intellectual Developmental Disorder

Language Characteristics
Possible Causal Factors

Language Disorders Associated With Neurocognitive Disorders

Traumatic Brain Injury 
Cerebrovascular Accident

Language Disorders Associated With Maltreatment: Neglect and Abuse

Language Characteristics
Possible Casual Factors

Language Disorders Associated With Less Frequent Disorders

Late Language Emergence
Childhood Schizophrenia
Selective Mutism
Otitis Media


Chapter 4. Early Communication Intervention

Legal Basis for Early Intervention

The Early Intervention Model

Children Served in ECI Programs

Established Risk
At-Risk Children

ECI Assessment

Transdisciplinary Model of Assessment
Family Concerns, Priorities, and Resources
Informal Communication Assessment
Formal Assessment
Organizing an Early Language and Communication Assessment
Considerations for Infants With Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

ECI Intervention

Use of Daily Routines
Intervention Strategies
Nature Settings and Partners
Culturally Responsive Intervention
A Hybrid Model
Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Augmentative and Alternate Communication

Types of AAC
Evidence-Based Practice
AAC Intervention


Chapter 5. Assessment of Preschool and School-Age Children With Language Disorders

Psychometric Versus Descriptive Procedures

Normalist Assessment Measures
Descriptive Assessment Approaches

An Integrated Functional Assessment Strategy

Referral, Screening, Questionnaire, and Interview
Formal Language Testing
Assessment of Related Cognitive Factors
Dynamic Assessment


Chapter 6. Language Sampling

Extent of Language Sampling Use
Planning a Language Sample

Language Sampling Contexts

Collecting a Language Sample

Conversational Samples
Narrative Samples

Recording the Sample

Collecting Samples of Written Language

Transcribing the Oral Sample



Chapter 7. Language Sample Analysis (LSA)

Levels of Language Sample Analysis

Communication Event
Across Utterances and Partners
Within Utterances

Narrative Analysis

Macrostructure Analysis
Microstructure Analysis
Reliability and Validity

Computer-Assisted Language Sample Analysis (CLSA)

Chapter 8. Assessment of Children From Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

Difference or Disorder?
State of Service Delivery

Lack of Academic Preparation
Unfamiliarity With Different Languages and Cultures
Lack of Appropriate Assessment Tools

Language Assessment of a Child Who Is an ELL

Who Are ELLs?
Importance of Accurate Assessment
Overcoming Bias in Assessment of ELLs

An Integrated Model for Assessment for ELLs


Language Assessment of Children Speaking NMAE

Careful Use of Standardized Tests
Alternative Assessment Approaches

Model of Language Assessment of a Child Who Speaks NMAE



Chapter 9. A Functional Intervention Model


Be a Reinforcer
Closely Approximate Natural Learning
Follow Developmental Guidelines
Follow the Child’s Lead
Actively Involve the Child
Remember the Influence of Context on Language
Use the Scripts Found in Familiar Events
Design a Generalization Plan First

Generalization Variables

Teaching Targets
Teaching Items
Method of Teaching
Language Teachers
Teaching Cues


Chapter 10. Manipulating Context

Nonlinguistic Contexts
Linguistic Contexts

Exposure to Grammatical Targets
Explicit Instruction
Conversational Milieu

Conversations: Top-Down Teaching

Chapter 11. Specific Intervention Techniques

Cognitive Considerations

Information Processing


Social Skills and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Conversational Abilities


Vocabulary and Word Meaning
Semantic Categories and Relational Webs
Word Retrieval and Categorization
Figurative Language
Verbal Working Memory

Syntax and Morphology

Word Order and Sentence Types

Children With CLD Backgrounds
Use of Microcomputers

Chapter 12. Classroom Functional Intervention

Background and Rationale: Recent Educational Changes

Common Core State Standards
Response to Intervention
Collaborative Teaching

Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist

Relating to Others

Language Intervention and Language Arts
Elements of a Classroom Model

Identification of Children at Risk

Curriculum-Based Intervention

CBLI Model
Classroom Demands
Instructional Approaches

Linguistic Awareness Intervention Within the Classroom

School-Age and Adolescent

Language Facilitation

Classroom Language Requirements
Talking With Children
Classroom Support for Children With Working Memory Deficits

Instituting a Classroom Model

Chapter 13. Literacy Impairments: Language in a Visual Mode


Reading Comprehension and Inferencing
Reading Problems
Children With Culturally Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

Reading and Language Disorders

Contribution of Linguistic Awareness
Deficits in Comprehension
Deficits in Inferencing

Assessment of Reading

Data Collection
Data Analysis
Assessment of Phonological Awareness
Assessment of Morphological Awareness
Assessment of Comprehension
Early Assessment of Dyslexia
Reading Assessment for Children With ASD

Language-Based Reading Intervention

Early Literacy Intervention
Preschool Emerging Literacy
School-Age Intervention


Writing Problems

Assessment of Writing

Data Collection
Data Analysis
Spelling Assessment

Language-Based Writing Intervention

Extended Writing
Sentence Construction and Composition



        A: Formal Language Measures
        B: SUGAR (Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised) 
        C: Comparison of Computer-Based Language Sample Analysis Methods
        D: Selected English Morphological Prefixes and Suffixes
        E: Non-Majority American English Dialects and English Influenced by 
             Other Languages
        F: Indirect Elicitation Techniques
        G: Intervention Activities and Language Targets 
        H: Use of Children’s Literature in Preschool Classrooms



Robert E. Owens, Jr.

Robert E. Owens, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer, and then received his doctoral degree from The Ohio State University in 1978. He is an author and co-author of four textbooks and a score of professional articles and book chapters, and has presented nearly 250 professional papers and workshops across the country and around the world. Currently, he is a professor at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY where he lives with his spouse. In addition, he is a co-developer of SUGAR, a free, valid language sampling and analysis tool for children 3 to 11 years old. He has three children and three grandchildren.

Learn More

Language Disorders: A Functional Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Children, Seventh Edition comes with access to supplementary student and instructor resources on a PluralPlus companion website.


The companion website is located at:



The student resources include Practice Quizzes and eFlashcards.

To access the student resources, you must register on the companion website and log in using the access code located in the front of your textbook.


The instructor resources include PowerPoint Lecture Slides, a Test Bank, and Sample Syllabus. You will also have access to all of the student resources listed above.

To access the instructor resources, you must contact Plural Publishing, Inc. to be verified as an instructor and receive your access code.


            Tel: 866-758-7251 (toll free) or 858-492-1555

*Note for students: If you have purchased this textbook used or have rented it, your access code will not work if it was already redeemed by the original buyer of the book. Plural Publishing does not offer replacement access codes for used or rented textbooks.

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