Factors Supporting Idiom Comprehension in Children With Communication Disorders The current investigation explored understanding of idioms in context in 93 children with communication disorders and 39 age-matched peers. The clinical group was subdivided by (a) the presence of autistic features and (b) the presence of language impairment. Idiom definitions were gathered in isolation and in context. Related skills such ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2004
Factors Supporting Idiom Comprehension in Children With Communication Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Courtenay Frazier Norbury
    University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: courtenay.norbury@psy.ox.ac.uk
  • Contact author: Courtenay Frazier Norbury, DPhil, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UD United Kingdom. E-mail: courtenay.norbury@psy.ox.ac.uk
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2004
Factors Supporting Idiom Comprehension in Children With Communication Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1179-1193. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/087)
History: Received August 1, 2003 , Accepted February 15, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1179-1193. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/087)
History: Received August 1, 2003; Accepted February 15, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 43

The current investigation explored understanding of idioms in context in 93 children with communication disorders and 39 age-matched peers. The clinical group was subdivided by (a) the presence of autistic features and (b) the presence of language impairment. Idiom definitions were gathered in isolation and in context. Related skills such as semantics and theory of mind were also measured. All children benefited significantly from context. However, 2 groups with language impairments (1 with and 1 without autistic features) did not benefit from context as much as the controls or a group of children with autistic features without additional language difficulties. Regression analyses found that age, memory for story context, and language abilities were significant predictors of idioms in context performance. These findings are discussed in relation to theories of idiom acquisition and contextual processing in autism.

Acknowledgments
This study was completed while the author held a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship and was submitted in partial fulfilment for the doctor of philosophy degree, University of Oxford. I would like to thank Dorothy Bishop for helpful discussion and comments. I am particularly grateful to the parents and children taking part in this study and all of the schools that have kindly supported this research.
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