Spontaneous Language of Children With Specific Neurological Syndromes This paper presents data concerning the early phases of language development in 8 children with congenital neurological syndromes (NS) who are cognitively impaired. The children are native speakers of Hebrew, and their verbal achievements assessed on normative tests are below their age level. The children’s spontaneous speech was analyzed with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2000
Spontaneous Language of Children With Specific Neurological Syndromes
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Y. Levy
    Psychology Department, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical School Jerusalem, Israel
  • A. Tennenbaum
    The Jerusalem Institute for Child and Family Development Jerusalem, Israel
  • A. Ornoy
    Hadamah-Hebrew University Medical School Jerusalem, Israel
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: msyonata@mscc.huji.ac.il
  • Contact author: Yonata Levy, Psychology Department, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel 91905. Email: msyonata@mscc.huji.ac.il
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2000
Spontaneous Language of Children With Specific Neurological Syndromes
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 351-365. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.351
History: Received January 8, 1999 , Accepted September 14, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 351-365. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.351
History: Received January 8, 1999; Accepted September 14, 1999

This paper presents data concerning the early phases of language development in 8 children with congenital neurological syndromes (NS) who are cognitively impaired. The children are native speakers of Hebrew, and their verbal achievements assessed on normative tests are below their age level. The children’s spontaneous speech was analyzed with respect to 13 different language variables known to be diagnostic of a child’s developmental level. No differences were found between the children and their language-matched controls on 10 grammatical variables. The groups differed, however, in number of pragmatic errors, errors of word choice, and errors of gender marking on animate nouns. Profile analysis was done through the use of POSAC (partial order scalogram analysis by base coordinates; Shye, 1985 Shye, Elizur, & Hoffman, 1994). The analysis did not reveal differences between the children with NS and the controls.

These findings suggest the possibility of a mechanism that is functionally akin to brain plasticity. Such a mechanism will guarantee the preservation of basic linguistic skills in children with NS.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Psychobiology in Israel, and a grant from the Israeli Foundation for Research in Education. We are grateful to the children and their families for their cooperation.
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