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Narrative competence and underlying mechanisms in children with pragmatic language impairment

  • MIEKE PAULINE KETELAARS (a1), KINO JANSONIUS (a2), JULIANE CUPERUS (a2) and LUDO VERHOEVEN (a1)

Abstract

This study investigated narrative competence in children with pragmatic language impairment (PLI) and the extent to which it is related to impairments in theory of mind and executive functioning (EF). Narrative competence was assessed using a retelling design in a group of 77 children with PLI and a control group of 77 typically developing children, aged 5. The children with PLI showed an overall poorer narrative competence as apparent in measures of narrative productivity, organization of content, and cohesion. Some of these differences could be attributed to language impairments. The remaining differences could be partly interpreted as pragmatic deficits. In typically developing children, narrative productivity skills were related to both theory of mind and EF, but only theory of mind explained unique variance once language ability was added to the model. In the PLI group, however, narrative productivity skills were solely related to EF, over and above language abilities. Organization of story content and cohesion were not related to any of the cognitive measures for either group. The results indicate that children with PLI show narrative deficits and that these deficits are related to EF.

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Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Mieke Ketelaars, Department of Special Education, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, Nijmegen 6500 HE, The Netherlands. E-mail: M.Ketelaars@pwo.ru.nl

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