Here’s how children with language impairment face problems

Washington, September 22 : A new study has shown that language impairment may affect a child’s ability to understand and retell a script-based story.

The study, involving a researcher from the University of Alberta, is the first to look into the relationship between language skills and children’s ability to understand things.

When a person experiences an event frequently, for instance going to a restaurant, he remembers the kinds of activities that are part of such event. This is called a ‘script’.

Many researchers believe the human brain stores information in the form of scripts, which is why when a person listens to a story about a restaurant, he would expect the characters in it to order food, eat food, and pay for their meal.

With a view to understanding how people understand the story when they do not even know the scripts, the researcher read a script-based story to 44 eight-year-old children with and without language impairments. The story was about two children who go to a restaurant with their mother.

The examiner asked the children to retell the story once it had finished. The children with language impairments faired very poorly when trying to recall story details.

Such children were only able to retell one key piece of information related to the story, which is a surprising finding as research on children without language impairment shows that kids as young as three-years-old can comprehend and retell basic scripts.

“This research indicates that we need to talk more with our children about what we are doing in daily situations because children with language impairments often need more experiences before they will understand and remember scripts,” says University of Alberta researcher Denyse Hayward.

“When reading stories to children, it is important to discover if the child understands the script component, and if not then discuss and describe that for the child. This will lead to not only better understanding of stories, but greater enjoyment of stories,” adds the researcher. (With inputs from ANI)