Research  |   January 1994
Lexical Comprehension in Young Children With Developmental Delays
Special Populations
Research   |   January 1994
Lexical Comprehension in Young Children With Developmental Delays
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology January 1994, Vol.3, 79-88. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0301.79
History: Accepted 30 Aug 1993 , Received 23 Mar 1992
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology January 1994, Vol.3, 79-88. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0301.79
History: Accepted 30 Aug 1993 , Received 23 Mar 1992

Lexical comprehension skills were examined in 20 young children (aged 28–45 months) with developmental delays (DD) and 20 children (aged 19–34 months) with normal development (ND). Each was assigned to either a story-like script condition or a simple ostensive labeling condition in which the names of three novel object and action items were presented over two experimental sessions. During the experimental sessions, receptive knowledge of the lexical items was assessed through a series of target and generalization probes. Results indicated that all children, irrespective of group status, acquired more lexical concepts in the ostensive labeling condition than in the story narrative condition. Overall, both groups acquired more object than action words, although subjects with ND comprehended more action words than subjects with DD. More target than generalization items were also comprehended by both groups. It is concluded that young children's comprehension of new lexical concepts is facilitated more by a context in which simple ostensive labels accompany the presentation of specific objects and actions than one in which objects and actions are surrounded by thematic and event-related information. Various clinical applications focusing on the lexical training of young children with DD are discussed.

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