Children’s Naming and Word-Finding Difficulties: Descriptions and Explanations Purpose There is a substantial minority of children for whom lexical retrieval problems impede the normal pattern of language development and use. These problems include accurately producing the correct word even when the word’s meaning is understood. Such problems are often referred to as word-finding difficulties (WFDs). This article examines ... Review Article
Review Article  |   April 01, 2006
Children’s Naming and Word-Finding Difficulties: Descriptions and Explanations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David Messer
    Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
  • Julie E. Dockrell
    Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
  • Contact author: David Messer, Centre for Childhood, Development and Learning, Briggs Building, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom. Email: d.j.messer@open.ac.uk
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Review Article
Review Article   |   April 01, 2006
Children’s Naming and Word-Finding Difficulties: Descriptions and Explanations
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2006, Vol. 49, 309-324. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/025)
History: Received August 2, 2004 , Revised March 17, 2005 , Accepted October 5, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2006, Vol. 49, 309-324. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/025)
History: Received August 2, 2004; Revised March 17, 2005; Accepted October 5, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 38

Purpose There is a substantial minority of children for whom lexical retrieval problems impede the normal pattern of language development and use. These problems include accurately producing the correct word even when the word’s meaning is understood. Such problems are often referred to as word-finding difficulties (WFDs). This article examines the nature of naming and lexical retrieval difficulties in these and other groups of children.

Method A review of the relevant literature on lexical access difficulties in children with word-finding difficulties was conducted. Studies were examined in the terms of population parameters and comparison groups included in the study.

Results and Conclusions Most discussions of the cognitive processes causing lexical retrieval difficulties refer to semantics, phonology, and processing speed. The authors propose that understanding of these topics will be further advanced by the use of appropriate methodology to test developmental models. In this way it will be possible to identify the processes that contribute to successful lexical retrieval and the processes that result in retrieval difficulties.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful for the constructive comments received from Gina Conti-Ramsden, Victoria Joffe, Diane German, Rachel George, Michael (Fred) Thomas, and Gillie Wilson. Ongoing research to address these issues has been supported by grants from The Wellcome Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council.
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