Learning Disabled Children's Syntactic Proficiency on a Communicative Task Previous studies have generally examined learning disabled children's syntactic ability either on structured tasks or by analyzing oral language samples collected under conditions not typically of natural communicative settings. Thus, these studies are of limited value in exploring the impact of learning disabled children's deficits in linguistic structure on their ... Reports
Reports  |   November 01, 1982
Learning Disabled Children's Syntactic Proficiency on a Communicative Task
 
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Reports   |   November 01, 1982
Learning Disabled Children's Syntactic Proficiency on a Communicative Task
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, November 1982, Vol. 47, 397-403. doi:10.1044/jshd.4704.397
History: Received March 23, 1981 , Accepted October 1, 1981
 
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, November 1982, Vol. 47, 397-403. doi:10.1044/jshd.4704.397
History: Received March 23, 1981; Accepted October 1, 1981

Previous studies have generally examined learning disabled children's syntactic ability either on structured tasks or by analyzing oral language samples collected under conditions not typically of natural communicative settings. Thus, these studies are of limited value in exploring the impact of learning disabled children's deficits in linguistic structure on their use of language in social contexts. The purpose of this study was to investigate learning disabled children's syntactic proficiency during a task requiring them to convey information to a listener. Subjects were selected on the bases of teacher ratings, reading achievement scores, and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test IQ scores within the normal range; those children identified as learning disabled received low ratings and demonstrated underachievement (below 40th percentile for their grade) in reading. Oral language samples were collected by having learning disabled and normally achieving children in grades two, four, six, and eight participate in a referential communication task in which they described abstract shapes to an experimenter. The length and syntactic complexity of the children's descriptions were assessed. Learning disabled children in all grades were found to produce shorter mean t-units and shorter mean main clauses than nondisabled children even on this relatively simple communicative task. Although learning disabled children's linguistic problems have previously been characterized as subtle, these findings suggest that their productive language deficits may be significant enough to interfere with even the informal and elliptical conversations characteristic of communication among peers and family members.

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