Comprehension Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment Literal and Inferential Meaning Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1992
Comprehension Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • D. V. M. Bishop
    Department of Psychology University of Manchester, England
  • C. Adams
    Department of Psychology University of Manchester, England
  • Currently affiliated with Centre for Audiology, Education of the Deaf and Speech Pathology, University of Manchester, England.
    Currently affiliated with Centre for Audiology, Education of the Deaf and Speech Pathology, University of Manchester, England.×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1992
Comprehension Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 119-129. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.119
History: Received August 17, 1990 , Accepted April 10, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 119-129. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.119
History: Received August 17, 1990; Accepted April 10, 1991

A group of 61 schoolchildren with specific language impairment (SLI) was compared with a control group on a comprehension task, in which the child was questioned about a story that had been presented either orally or as a series of pictures. Half the questions were literal, requiring the child to provide a detail that had been mentioned or shown explicitly in the story. The remainder required the child to make an inference about what had not been directly shown or stated. SLI children were impaired on this task, even after taking into account "comprehension age," as assessed on a multiple-choice test. However, the effects of mode of presentation and question type were similar for control and SLI groups. Children who fitted the clinical picture of semantic-pragmatic disorder had lower scores than other SLI children on this task. In addition, they were more prone to give answers that suggested they had not understood the question. However, as with the other SLI children, there was no indication that they had disproportionate difficulty with inferential questions. It is concluded that SLI children are impaired in constructing an integrated representation from a sequence of propositions, even when such propositions are presented nonverbally.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank M. Bacon, A. Badgett, L. Entrekin, H. Lichte, L. Nadel, C. Nash, J. Stevens, A. Strommer, and J. Willner for their contributions to this study.
A special thanks is extended to the subject of this study and his parents, and to Rebecca Vance, who served as the child’s instructor.
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