The use of language to restructure perceptual input in children with and without language impairment

Date of Completion

January 1998


Health Sciences, Speech Pathology|Education, Special|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Cognitive




Children with normally developing language (NL) and children with language impairment (LI) participated in a series of four tasks: picture description, perspective taking 1, perspective taking 2, and perspective taking 3. The perceptual-language distance continuum (PLDC), developed by Marion Blank, was used to place the four tasks on a continuum of complexity. The tasks increased in complexity based on the amount of abstraction, or restructuring, required. Compared to the NL children, the LI children received lower means on all tasks. A factor analysis resulted in a single factor solution for both groups. This factor is thought to represent the process of representing restructured information in words. Regressions and path analyses indicated that the two groups built complexity differently across the series of tasks. The NL group built complexity progressively; but, the LI group relied on the most concrete tasks when responding to the most complex task. The relative decrease in the LI children's scores on the final perspective taking task indicates that this strategy was not as effective as that used by the NL children. ^