Interactive Basis of Severely Handicapped and Normal Children's Acquisition of Referential Language The purpose of this study was to compare the interactions of prelinguistic severely handicapped children and their caregivers to the interactions of prelinguistic normal children and their mothers. The children were matched for level of sensorimotor development. Comparisons were made with regard to the children's use of gestures, patterns of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1984
Interactive Basis of Severely Handicapped and Normal Children's Acquisition of Referential Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mareile A. Koenig
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Carolyn B. Merwis
    University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1984
Interactive Basis of Severely Handicapped and Normal Children's Acquisition of Referential Language
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1984, Vol. 27, 534-542. doi:10.1044/jshr.2704.534
History: Received August 18, 1983 , Accepted March 15, 1984
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1984, Vol. 27, 534-542. doi:10.1044/jshr.2704.534
History: Received August 18, 1983; Accepted March 15, 1984

The purpose of this study was to compare the interactions of prelinguistic severely handicapped children and their caregivers to the interactions of prelinguistic normal children and their mothers. The children were matched for level of sensorimotor development. Comparisons were made with regard to the children's use of gestures, patterns of play, and natural opportunities for developmentally appropriate communicative stimulation. These comparisons were based on observations of each child and his caregiver during a 30-min period of naturalistic play. Overall, no significant differences were found between the children's use of prelinguistic gestures or in their patterns of play. Significant differences were found, however, between the communicative environments of the two groups of children. The severely handicapped children experienced significantly fewer opportunities to hear labels for the objects of their attention or to observe functional object demonstrations. Both the theoretical implications and the practical applications of these findings were considered.

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