The Conceptual Basis for Morpheme Learning Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment Two groups of children were exposed to instances of a nonlinguistic conceptual rule under controlled instructional conditions to determine whether the problems children with specific language impairment (SLI) have learning and accessing language rules extend beyond the language domain into the general cognitive domain. The performance of 20 children with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1994
The Conceptual Basis for Morpheme Learning Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Phil J. Connell
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • C. Addison Stone
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Phil J. Connell, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Email: pconnell@indiana.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Reading & Writing Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1994
The Conceptual Basis for Morpheme Learning Problems in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1994, Vol. 37, 389-398. doi:10.1044/jshr.3702.389
History: Received February 12, 1993 , Accepted October 26, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1994, Vol. 37, 389-398. doi:10.1044/jshr.3702.389
History: Received February 12, 1993; Accepted October 26, 1993

Two groups of children were exposed to instances of a nonlinguistic conceptual rule under controlled instructional conditions to determine whether the problems children with specific language impairment (SLI) have learning and accessing language rules extend beyond the language domain into the general cognitive domain. The performance of 20 children with SLI, aged 5:0 to 6:11 (years:months), was compared to that of 20 normally developing children matched for age and nonverbal ability. These children were taught under two instructional conditions that differed only in whether the child was asked to imitate the solution to a conceptual problem after each demonstration (imitation) or merely to observe it (modeling). Contrary to previous findings regarding linguistic rule-learning using auditory or visual symbol systems and similar instructional conditions, no difference was found between the extent of overall learning displayed by the normally developing children and those with SLI. Also, the performance of the children with SLI was not uniquely better under the imitation condition than under modeling, as had been the case with the learning of a novel morpheme in an auditory linguistic task. These results are interpreted as confirming the earlier assumption that the generally lower overall learning rate of the children with SLI on both the auditory and visual tasks reflects a specific linguistic rule-learning difficulty, rather than a general deficiency in rule induction.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this paper was supported in part by a grant from NIDCD. We would like to thank ChiMing Yang for his assistance in the development of the computer programs used to implement the instruction, and Lucy Felbinger, Kalyani Krishnan, Peg Bemen, Laura Riddle, Barry Wagner, Susan Giger, Lisa Ubben, and Robin Barker for their assistance in data collection and analysis.
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