Partner Influences on the Social Pretend Play of Children With Language Impairments Purpose: This study examined the social pretend play and conversational behaviors of children with language impairment (LI) in dyadic interactions with peers. Method: The participants (aged 4;3 [years;months] to 6;2) were 3 boys with LI and 4 with typical language development (LN). In this multiple embedded case study, hypotheses regarding ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2002
Partner Influences on the Social Pretend Play of Children With Language Impairments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Debbie M. A. DeKroon
    The Creche Child and Family Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Christiane S. Kyte
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Carla J. Johnson
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Currently in private practice in North Bay, Ontario.
    Currently in private practice in North Bay, Ontario.×
  • Contact author: Carla J. Johnson, PhD, Department of Speech- Language Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7.
    Contact author: Carla J. Johnson, PhD, Department of Speech- Language Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: carla.johnson@utoronto.ca
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2002
Partner Influences on the Social Pretend Play of Children With Language Impairments
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2002, Vol. 33, 253-267. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2002/021)
History: Received October 15, 2001 , Accepted June 13, 2002
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2002, Vol. 33, 253-267. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2002/021)
History: Received October 15, 2001; Accepted June 13, 2002

Purpose: This study examined the social pretend play and conversational behaviors of children with language impairment (LI) in dyadic interactions with peers.

Method: The participants (aged 4;3 [years;months] to 6;2) were 3 boys with LI and 4 with typical language development (LN). In this multiple embedded case study, hypotheses regarding the sophistication of verbal interaction and social pretend play were developed and tested with respect to two cases. Each case consisted of five interactions—four involving a child with LI in dyadic play with peers (2 LI, 2 LN), and the last involving the 2 LN peers. The dyad types for each case were LI, mixed, and LN. Within each case, LI dyads were expected to perform less well than mixed dyads, who were, in turn, expected to perform less well than the LN dyad on measures of verbal interaction and social pretend play. Also, greater conversational success was expected in social pretend play than in other forms of play for all dyads.

Results: For both cases, the results for verbal sophistication generally conformed to expectations for the dyad types. In contrast, social pretend play behaviors were inconsistent with expectations across dyads and cases. In all dyads, social pretend play yielded greater conversational success than other forms of play. The quality of play varied as a function of partner characteristics, such as responsiveness, theme knowledge, verbal skill, and adaptability.

Clinical Implications: Clinicians are cautioned to ensure that evaluations of play in children with LI encompass multiple aspects of both play and conversation, as well as observation of children with multiple partners. Likewise, in planning interventions, it may be important to address both play and verbal behaviors and to incorporate opportunities for interaction with multiple partners.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This manuscript is based on a master’s thesis that was completed by the first author under the supervision of the third author. Portions of this work were presented at the 1997 biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. This research was supported by a grant to the third author from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The authors extend thanks to The Creche Child and Family Centre for the use of their facilities and, especially, to the parents and children who participated in the study.
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