Reports  |   August 1990
Nonverbal Indicants of Comprehension Monitoring in Language-Disordered Children
Article Information
Reports   |   August 1990
Nonverbal Indicants of Comprehension Monitoring in Language-Disordered Children
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1990, Vol. 55, 461-467. doi:10.1044/jshd.5503.461
History: Received August 3, 1989 , Accepted November 6, 1989
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1990, Vol. 55, 461-467. doi:10.1044/jshd.5503.461
History: Received August 3, 1989; Accepted November 6, 1989

This study investigated normal and language-disordered (LD) children's patterns of nonverbal behavior in response to messages varying in degree of ambiguity. Each LD child was matched to two normally developing children: one for comprehension level (LM) and the other for chronological age (CM). All children participated in a videotaped ambiguity detection task. Nonverbal behaviors that were produced between the time the message was completed and the examiner's acknowledgment of the response were scored for type of behavior exhibited including eye contact, hand behavior, body movement, and smile. Results demonstrated that all subjects increased their nonverbal behavior (e.g., eye contact) from unambiguous to ambiguous message conditions, suggesting awareness of the differences in these message types at a rudimentary level. Most often nonverbal indication was the only signal of ambiguity detection exhibited by the LD children and their LM peers. Only the CM children concurrently indicated awareness through more direct means (i.e., verbalization and pointing to all possible referents) in a consistent and accurate manner. The finding that LD children did differentiate inadequate from adequate messages in a rudimentary manner suggests that clinicians might promote the intentionality of these preintentional nonverbal behaviors as a possible intervention strategy.

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