Valentina Jacob, Maria Chiara Levorato, Maja Roch

Text comprehension in children with Specific Language Impairment: should we talk about specificity?

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Specific Language Impairment, listening text comprehension, inferential abilities, semantic representation, linguistic elaboration.

The present work reviews research on oral text comprehension in children with Specific Language Impairment. While this constitutes a relevant matter for language disorders, as children with SLI frequently exhibit persisting difficulties affecting learning, studies are relatively few. We reviewed published literature from the eighties till now, trying to shed light in underlying processes, and to discuss relevant issues, such, as that of the role of inferential abilities. We also compared the literature on SLI children with that on "less-skilled comprehenders", underlining that text comprehension implies building a coherent and integrated representation of text information (Bishop, 1997; Hannon and Danemann, 2001). We conclude that representational processes appear to play a role in the difficulties of children with SLI, possibly going beyond their initial language deficits, and that the study of text comprehension, especially under conditions of language disorders, points out the complex issue of developmental relation between language and cognition.

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