Teachers and Laypersons Discern Quality Differences Between Narratives Produced by Children With or Without SLI Purpose To examine the functional impact of specific language impairment (SLI). Specific goals were to determine whether (a) subjective ratings of narrative quality differentiate children with SLI from their normally developing (ND) age-mates, (b) laypersons and teachers differ in their ratings of narrative quality, (c) objective measures confirm previously reported ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2006
Teachers and Laypersons Discern Quality Differences Between Narratives Produced by Children With or Without SLI
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robyn M. Newman
    Northwestern University, Northbrook, IL
  • Karla K. McGregor
    Northwestern University, Northbrook, IL
  • Contact author: Karla K. McGregor, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, 121C Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1012. E-mail: karla-mcgregor@uiowa.edu
  • Robyn M. Newman is now at the Ariella Joy Frankel Keshet Day School, Northbrook, IL.
    Robyn M. Newman is now at the Ariella Joy Frankel Keshet Day School, Northbrook, IL.×
  • Karla K. McGregor is now at The University of Iowa.
    Karla K. McGregor is now at The University of Iowa.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2006
Teachers and Laypersons Discern Quality Differences Between Narratives Produced by Children With or Without SLI
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2006, Vol. 49, 1022-1036. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/073)
History: Received April 15, 2005 , Revised August 15, 2005 , Accepted January 25, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2006, Vol. 49, 1022-1036. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/073)
History: Received April 15, 2005; Revised August 15, 2005; Accepted January 25, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 34

Purpose To examine the functional impact of specific language impairment (SLI). Specific goals were to determine whether (a) subjective ratings of narrative quality differentiate children with SLI from their normally developing (ND) age-mates, (b) laypersons and teachers differ in their ratings of narrative quality, (c) objective measures confirm previously reported problems in narration among children with SLI, and (d) objective measures of narrative structure and quality ratings relate.

Method Twenty-seven laypersons and 21 teachers used interval scaling to rate the quality of narratives produced by 20 5–7-year-olds, 10 with SLI and 10 ND age-mates. The narratives were also analyzed objectively for fluency, length, sentence-level syntax, and story grammar and themes.

Results Subjective ratings differentiated the SLI and ND groups with 70% nonoverlap. No differences were observed between the laypersons' and teachers' numeric ratings; however, laypersons reported that they paid more attention to the “sparkle” or charm of the narratives. Objective measures of story length, grammaticality, and thematic development differentiated SLI and ND groups. Mean length of C-unit and number of thematic units positively predicted quality ratings.

Clinical implications Intervention efforts aimed specifically at improving the quality of these children’s oral narration may focus on increasing length, grammatical accuracy, and story development. Future clinical and research efforts aimed at addressing the broader functional impact of SLI are also critical given that the manifestations of SLI are noticeable to both teachers and laypersons.

Acknowledgments
This article is based on a dissertation completed by Robyn M. Newman under the direction of Karla K. McGregor. The work was supported by a graduate research grant from the Northwestern University Graduate Research Grants Committee, awarded to Robyn M. Newman, and National Institutes of Health Grant 1 R29 DC03698-01, awarded to Karla K. McGregor. We thank Cheryl Scott, Bruce Smith, and Steven Zecker for their guidance during this project; Ling Yu Guo for his assistance with coding; and our dedicated participants for their time and effort.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access