Spontaneous Language of Children With Specific Neurological Syndromes

Levy, Y.; Tennenbaum, A.; Ornoy, A.
April 2000
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2000, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p351
Academic Journal
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.


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