Listeners’ Perceptions of Language Use in Children Past research suggests that when children’s communication skills do not match others’ expectations, children are likely to be perceived negatively and may consequently experience less academic and social success. This project focused on listeners’ perceptions of three children, one with specific language impairment (SLI) and two typically developing peers. The ... Clinical Exchange
Clinical Exchange  |   July 01, 2001
Listeners’ Perceptions of Language Use in Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura Segebart DeThorne
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ruth V. Watkins
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Contact author: Laura Segebart DeThorne, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, 901 S. Sixth, Champaign, IL 61801.
    Contact author: Laura Segebart DeThorne, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, 901 S. Sixth, Champaign, IL 61801.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: lauras@uiuc.edu
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Clinical Exchange
Clinical Exchange   |   July 01, 2001
Listeners’ Perceptions of Language Use in Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2001, Vol. 32, 142-148. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2001/012)
History: Received January 10, 2000 , Accepted September 20, 2000
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2001, Vol. 32, 142-148. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2001/012)
History: Received January 10, 2000; Accepted September 20, 2000

Past research suggests that when children’s communication skills do not match others’ expectations, children are likely to be perceived negatively and may consequently experience less academic and social success. This project focused on listeners’ perceptions of three children, one with specific language impairment (SLI) and two typically developing peers. The listeners consisted of teachers, speech-language pathologists, undergraduate students, and sixth-grade students. All four listener groups consistently perceived the child with SLI more negatively than the typically developing youngsters, thereby illuminating the need for clinicians to (a) increase their awareness of personal biases, (b) educate parents and teachers regarding the nature of SLI, (c) collaborate with teachers and other professionals to promote the social integration of children with language impairment in the classroom, and (d) consider the social impact of particular speech-language characteristics when prioritizing intervention targets.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by training grant #H029D60035 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The authors would like to thank Joan Dimmitt for her generous work on data analysis. In addition, we appreciate the participation of the 120 speech-language patholo-gists, teachers, undergraduates, and sixth-grade students who made this study possible. Last, but certainly not least, we extend sincere gratitude to the families of the children involved in this study for their willingness to support such research.
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