Social Interactions of Speech, and Language-Impaired Children Social interactions among preschool children were classified into four groups according to language ability: normally developing English, specific language impairment (SLI), speech impairment (SI), and English as a second language (ESL). The children were observed in naturalistic classroom interactions on three occasions. Conversational turns were coded according to initiations and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1991
Social Interactions of Speech, and Language-Impaired Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Marie A. Sell
    Memphis State University
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Mabel L. Rice, PhD, Child Language Program, 1082 Dole Center, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045.
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1991
Social Interactions of Speech, and Language-Impaired Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1299-1307. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1299
History: Received July 23, 1990 , Accepted January 22, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1299-1307. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1299
History: Received July 23, 1990; Accepted January 22, 1991

Social interactions among preschool children were classified into four groups according to language ability: normally developing English, specific language impairment (SLI), speech impairment (SI), and English as a second language (ESL). The children were observed in naturalistic classroom interactions on three occasions. Conversational turns were coded according to initiations and responses, and addressee. The results reveal differences across the groups of children. Normal language peers initiate interactions with each other and have a higher percentage of longer responses; normal language peers were the preferred addressee in peer initiations. In contrast, children with limited communication skills were more likely than their normal language peers to initiate with adults and to shorten their responses or use nonverbal responses. ESL children were the least likely to initiate interactions and were the most likely to be avoided as the recipient of an initiation. The findings are interpreted as evidence that preschool children are sensitive to relative communication skills and make adjustments in their social interactions accordingly. Multiple contributing factors are implicated, including intelligibility, limited linguistic flexibility, limited discourse skills, and self-consciousness about communicative competence.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by an award to Mabel Rice and Kim Wilcox from the Handicapped Children’s Early Education Program, Department of Education, #G008630279, and Department of Education Award #H024U80001 to the Kansas Early Childhood Research Institute. We appreciate the participation of the children and their parents in the Language Acquisition Preschool and express special gratitude to our colleagues Kim Wilcox and Betty Bunce for their assistance with this study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access