Title

Adult evaluations of children with language disorders

Date of Completion

January 2007

Keywords

Speech Communication|Health Sciences, Speech Pathology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to examine how adults evaluate the narrative story-telling ability of children. Causal models were constructed to track the effect of language disfluency on source, message, and task evaluation. In Study 1 (N=68), adult viewers were shown a video of a fourth grade male student with borderline language disorder who exhibited an above average amount of normal disfluency. The experimental task required the child to retell an age appropriate story. The boy retold the story in his own words twice. Adult viewers were assigned to either the disfluent message (the first retelling) or fluent message (the second retelling) conditions. Language disfluency decreased adult involvement with the task and perceived child motivation, but increased perceived child dynamism and adult comprehension of the child's message. The only effects of language disfluency ratings of the child's ability were indirect. In Study 2 (N=415), adult viewers were shown one of eight videos consisting of either a male or female fourth grader listening to an audio recording of an age appropriate story and then that child retelling the same story. The children in Study 2 were selected so as to vary the range of expressive and receptive disorders as well as gender. Expressive disorders decreased adult involvement with the task, perceived child motivation, and perceived child ability. Receptive disorders decreased adult involvement with the task, perceived child ability, and perceived child dynamism; receptive disorders increased perceived child motivation and adult comprehension of the child's message. The results from Study 1 and Study 2 provide strong support for the general information processing model proposed and for the specific model applied to adult evaluations of children. ^