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Title: Profiles and characteristics of sentence production difficulties in children with specific language impairment
Author: Murphy, Carol-Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 0152
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Sentence production difficulties in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) include problems with production of verb argument structure, complex sentences and morphology, with several studies attesting to particular weaknesses in verb knowledge Children may group according to relative strengths and weaknesses in production of verb argument structure and morphology. Guided by a theoretical model of sentence production as a framework for profiling and choice of assessment tasks and tools, this researach aimed to differentially diagnose profiles of sentence production difficulties in children with SLI and to determine stability profiles and change. Data was gathered from typically developing children (n=92) for the purposes of standardising a verb knowledge and sentence generation task designed for the study. Cluster analysis based on assessment results at two time periods, for school-aged children with SLI (n=20), on a range of single word, sentence level and narrative tasks that probed semantic-syntactic and morphological levels of sentence production, with consideration of non-standardised measures of morphological and argument structure errors, was carried out. Possible interactions between levels of sentence processing were explored through a randomised cross-over intervention study targeting verb argument structure and morphology. The results of profiling indicate small clusters of children who had weaknesses across several aspects of sentence production, or weaknesses confined to one or two aspects only. One large cluster presented considerable heterogeneity and stability of profiles for the whole group at follow-up assessment was poor. Variability within profiles and over time, with task differences, point to the importance of detailed profiling in order to specify deficits for intervention. The results of the intervention study indicate treatment effects in both argument structure and past tense production with some limited support for an order of intervention effect, suggesting that complexity effects and interactions between levels of sentence processing could be exploited to maximise change from intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available