Article  |   April 2012
Written Narrative Characteristics in Adults With Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachael Suddarth
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Elena Plante
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Rebecca Vance
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Correspondence to Rachael Suddarth: suddarthrachaelm@sau.edu
  • Rachael Suddarth is now with St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA.
    Rachael Suddarth is now with St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA.×
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Cheryl Scott
    Associate Editor: Cheryl Scott×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Language
Article   |   April 2012
Written Narrative Characteristics in Adults With Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2012, Vol. 55, 409-420. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0295)
History: Received October 20, 2010 , Revised March 8, 2011 , Accepted August 29, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2012, Vol. 55, 409-420. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0295)
History: Received October 20, 2010; Revised March 8, 2011; Accepted August 29, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose: Adults with language-based disabilities are known to have deficits in oral language; however, less is known about their written language skills. Two studies were designed to characterize the writing of adults with language-based disabilities.

Method: In Study 1, 60 adults, 30 with language impairment and 30 with typical language, completed written narratives. Forty-one written language measures were analyzed. In Study 2, the measures that had the most potential for reliably indexing deficits were analyzed in an additional 77 adults.

Results: Three measures that showed significant between-group differences and had robust effect sizes in Study 1, total number of verbs, 1-part verbs, and errors, were applied to the samples in Study 2. A group difference for percentage of errors was replicated in the second sample. A discriminant analysis identified 75% of the adults with language impairment and 30% of the adults with typical language as having an impairment based on the percent of written errors.

Conclusions: The writing task revealed consistent group differences in written errors and is clinically applicable in describing a client’s writing. However, the number of written errors was not robust enough to identify whether an adult had a language impairment or not.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R21 DC007917, awarded to the second author. We thank the students who assisted in this project: Becky Burton, Connie Leung, Jenna Schaa, Brian Bode, Kalei Harmon, Monica Dawydowych, and Naomi Brandis.
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