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Story's complexity and silent pauses in children with and without specific language impairment

PURPOSE: To verify the average time of silent pauses in narratives and the influence of story's complexity in the occurrence of these pauses in narratives of children with typical language development and children with specific language impairment (SLI), and further to compare these aspects between groups. METHODS: Sixty children aged between seven to ten years took part in this research, being 40 typical language developing children and 20 with SLI. To collect data, each child produced 15 narratives, each one based on a four-scene-sequence. These narratives show increasing complexity of the relations between the characters, since absence of intentionality (mechanical and behavioral sequences) to relations between characters with mental states attribution (intentional sequences), which allowed the survey of the average time of silent pauses in the narratives produced. RESULTS: Story's complexity has influenced the average time of silent pauses in narratives of children with typical language development, however, for children with SLI this pattern was not observed. The comparison between groups indicates a significant difference in all types of narratives, with the highest average in the group with SLI. CONCLUSION: Due to their linguistic impairment, children with SLI had longer silent pauses in their narratives. Story's complexity has influenced the average time of silent pauses in narratives of children with typical language development, but this difference hasn't occurred in SLI children's narratives.

Child language; Language development disorders; Narration; Speech, language and hearing sciences; Language development


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