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ERIC Number: EJ1112350
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1368-2822
Do Children with Social Communication Disorder Have Explicit Knowledge of Pragmatic Rules They Break? A Comparison of Conversational Pragmatic Ability and Metapragmatic Awareness
Lockton, Elaine; Adams, Catherine; Collins, Anna
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v51 n5 p508-517 Sep-Oct 2016
Background: Children who have social communication disorder (CwSCD) demonstrate persistent difficulties with language pragmatics in conversations and other verbal interactions. Speech-language interventions for these children often include promotion of metapragmatic awareness (MPA); that is, the ability to identify explicitly and reflect upon pragmatic rules (MP explicitation). Improved MPA is assumed to support increased self-monitoring and generalization of pragmatic knowledge. Evidence to support this as a mechanism of intervention depends upon the identification of a systematic relationship between MPA and use of pragmatic rules in conversational behaviour. Aims: To explore whether there is a relationship between MPA and conversational pragmatic ability in CwSCD. Further, it is asked whether CwSCD can demonstrate MPA for the pragmatic rules they themselves violate in conversation. Methods & Procedures: Thirty-nine CwSCD (aged 6;1-10;7 years), recruited from NHS speech and language therapy caseloads across the North West of England and South East Scotland, completed (1) a novel task, the Assessment of Metapragmatics (AMP), in which they identified and described a series of pragmatic errors depicted in scripted films; responses on this task were categorized into levels of MP explicitation; and (2) the Targeted Observation of Pragmatics in Children's Conversations (TOPICC), a semi-structured conversation-elicitation task from which 12 aspects of pragmatics were coded for presence of impairment. Regression analysis was used to explore the interaction between scores on the two tasks. Outcomes & Results: Expressive language score was a significant predictor of TOPICC score. However, AMP score, when added into the regression model, did not explain a significant amount of unique variance in TOPICC score. Over half of CwSCD demonstrated moderate or marked impairment in one or two pragmatic behaviours on TOPICC. For just over half of the occasions where a child showed moderate/marked impairment of a pragmatic rule on TOPICC did the same child demonstrate MPA for the same pragmatic rule on AMP. On 25% of occasions they demonstrated the most sophisticated level of MP explicitation. Conclusions & Implications: Findings indicate that some CwSCD have an awareness of the pragmatic rules they themselves violate in conversation. This finding suggests that, for some CwSCD, it may be beneficial for speech and language therapy to focus on improving motivation for use and better understanding of the impact of one's own pragmatic performance on others, rather than solely teaching awareness of pragmatic rules that are already understood but not used.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A