Patterns of Adult-Child Linguistic Interaction in Integrated Day Care Groups
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PURPOSE: This study investigated the language input of eight childcare providers to children with developmental disabilities, including language delay, who were integrated into community day care centers. METHOD: Structural and discourse features of the adults' language input was compared across two groups (integrated, typical) and two naturalistic day care contexts (book reading, play dough activity). The eight children with developmental disabilities and language delay were between 33-50 months of age; 32 normally developing peers ranged in age from 32-53 months of age. Adult-child interactions were transcribed and coded to yield estimates of structural indices (number of utterances, rate, mean length of utterances, ratio of different words to total words used (TTR) and discourse features (directive, interactive, language-modelling) of their language input. RESULTS: The language input addressed to the children with developmental disabilities was directive and not finely tuned to their expressive language levels. In turn, these children interacted infrequently with the adult or with the other children. Contextual comparisons indicated that the play dough activity promoted adult-child interaction that was less directive and more interaction-promoting than book reading, and that children interacted more frequently in the play-dough activity. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Implications for speech-language pathologists include the need for collaborative consultation in integrated settings, modification of adult-child play contexts to promote interaction, and training childcare providers to use language input that promotes communication development.
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