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Communicative features in early conversation building hearing-impaired and normally hearing children and their caregivers

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Health Sciences
  • Speech Pathology.
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Development.
  • Communication
  • Linguistics


This study investigated the conditions under which communicative interactions were facilitated in hearing-impaired children and their caregivers as compared to normally hearing children and their caregivers. Participants were six normally hearing children and five hearing-impaired children, and their caregivers. Each interactant's communicative behaviors were coded for the intentions conveyed, discourse turn types, and verbal or nonverbal modalities of expression. Patterns emerged regarding caregiver communicative behaviors that facilitated children's participation in ongoing conversations. Caregiver behaviors most likely to be followed by on-topic responses from normally hearing and hearing-impaired children included caregiver requests, messages expressed through simultaneous verbal and nonverbal means, and turns that extended topics of conversations. Hearing-impaired children tended to produce more partially inadequate on-topic responses to their caregivers' turns than did the normally hearing children. Results are discussed with regard to clinical implications for the improvement or intervention with hearing-impaired children.

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