Speech Disruptions in the Narratives of English-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment

Ling-yu Guo; Tomblin, J. Bruce; Samelson, Vicki
June 2008
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2008, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p722
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study examined the types, frequencies, and distribution of speech disruptions in the spoken narratives of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their age-matched (CA) and language-matched (LA) peers. Method: Twenty 4th-grade children with SLI, 20 typically developing CA children, and 20 younger typically developing LA children were included in this study. Speech disruptions (i.e., silent pauses and vocal hesitations) occurring in the narratives of these children were analyzed. Results: Children with SLI exhibited speech disruption rates that were higher than those of their age-matched peers but not higher than those of their language-matched peers. The difference in disruption rates between the SLI and CA groups was restricted to silent pauses of 500-1000 ms. Moreover, children with SLI produced more speech disruptions than their peers before phrases but not before sentences, clauses, or words. Conclusions: These findings suggest that there is a relationship between language ability and speech disruptions. Higher disruption rates at phrase boundaries in children with SLI than in their age-matched peers reflect lexical and syntactic deficits in children with SLI.


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