Blog Archives

Amelioration, regeneration, acquiescent and discordant: an exploration of narrative types and metaphor use in people with aphasia

Aphasia is an acquired communication impairment that affects a person’s ability to use and understand language. The aim of this study was to explore the narrative types and metaphors expressed by people with aphasia, to enhance insight into this experience. A qualitative narrative approach using videoed semi-structured interviews was undertaken with 11 people with aphasia. The transcribed data were analysed for underlying narratives and metaphors. Four types of narratives, labelled amelioration, regeneration, acquiescent and discordant, along with 13 conceptual metaphors used by persons with aphasia to convey their stroke experiences were identified. Metaphors specific to aphasia included aphasia as a thief, aphasia as a barrier, aphasia as a gift and aphasia as enlightenment. These findings facilitate understanding of the experience of aphasia and highlight the different narratives that may be used by the individual to make sense of and respond to their aphasia.

from Disability & Society


Stroke narratives in aphasia: The role of reported speech

The use of reported speech revealed a high level of narrative achievement and preserved pragmatic abilities in the individuals with aphasia. This achievement is invaluable in strengthening relationships and reinforcing community integration.

from Aphasiology

Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency

Conversational or “co-speech” gestures play an important role in communication, facilitating turntaking, providing visuospatial information, clarifying subtleties of emphasis, and other pragmatic cues. Consistent with other pragmatic language deficits, individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are said to produce fewer conversational gestures, as specified in many diagnostic measures. Surprisingly, while research shows fewer deictic gestures in young children with ASD, there is a little empirical evidence addressing other forms of gesture. The discrepancy between clinical and empirical observations may reflect impairments unrelated to frequency, such as gesture quality or integration with speech. Adolescents with high-functioning ASD (n=15), matched on age, gender, and IQ to 15 typically developing (TD) adolescents, completed a narrative task to assess the spontaneous production of speech and gesture. Naïve observers rated the stories for communicative quality. Overall, the ASD group’s stories were rated as less clear and engaging. Although utterance and gesture rates were comparable, the ASD group’s gestures were less closely synchronized with the co-occurring speech, relative to control participants. This gesture–speech synchrony specifically impacted communicative quality across participants. Furthermore, while story ratings were associated with gesture count in TD adolescents, no such relationship was observed in adolescents with ASD, suggesting that gestures do not amplify communication in this population. Quality ratings were, however, correlated with ASD symptom severity scores, such that participants with fewer ASD symptoms were rated as telling higher quality stories. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of communication and neuropsychological functioning in ASD.

from Autism Research

Who Does What to Whom: Introduction of Referents in Children’s Storytelling From Pictures

Conclusion: These results suggest that the FM measure is a useful tool for identifying whether a child has a problem with introducing referents in stories.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

A Preliminary Evaluation of Fast ForWord-Language as an Adjuvant Treatment in Language Intervention

Conclusions: This preliminary study provides no evidence to support the claim that FFW-L enhances children’s response to a conventional language intervention.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

‘Sit in the corner and don’t eat the crayons’: postgraduates with dyslexia and the dominant ‘lexic’ discourse

The lack of cultural diversity in higher education is recognised by policy objectives and a current focus on the development of widening participation for a range of students, including those with disabilities. Amongst this group are those with dyslexia who might previously have been disenfranchised from formal education and under-represented within it. This paper explores the personal narratives and learner histories of six postgraduates and academics with dyslexia from their earliest memories of learning to their present experiences. It examines how literacy, as a dominant form of discourse, has defined concepts of academic ability resulting in the early exclusion of these learners from formal education. It is argued that this dominant discourse can be challenged by non-authorised, informal learning resulting in stories of resistance.

from Disability & Society

Dynamic Assessment of narratives with Grade 3 children in a First Nations community

Diagnostic accuracy of the Dynamic Assessment and Intervention tool (DAI; Miller, Gillam & Peña, 2001) was examined with 17 Grade 3 children belonging to a First Nations community who were classified either as normal language learners (NLL) or as having possible language learning difficulties. The DAI was designed to provide a culturally sensitive evaluation of language learning abilities. Results showed that both groups benefited from direct teaching of specific targets, but children in the NLL category benefited to a greater extent and generalized more often to targets not directly addressed. A discriminant analysis resulted in high specificity and sensitivity. These results suggest that the DAI is a useful diagnostic tool for identifying children with language learning difficulties in this population.

from the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology</p

Cohesive Adequacy in the Narrative Samples of School-Age Children Who Use African American English

Conclusion: Typically developing African American children use the same category types of cohesive devices that have been reported for their peers who speak Standard American English. Further examination of cohesive adequacy to identify language impairment in school-age AAE speakers is warranted.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

Telephone-mediated communication effects on young children’s oral and written narratives

This study tested the effectiveness of a telephone-mediated language intervention on enhancing young children’s recontextualization processes in narrative expression. A four-week training program was incorporated into a primary school language-arts curriculum to investigate whether telephone experience designed to heighten listener awareness would augment oral and written narrative skill development. Findings supported predictions that telephone experience would affect both oral and written narrative expression. The telephone intervention enhanced oral psycholinguistic and narrative productivity over the face-to-face comparison treatment. Older students wrote significantly more sophisticated stories than younger students and the telephone enriched the written narratives of older children more than did in-person training. These findings advance theory and highlight educational benefits of a focus on recontextualization processes in distanced communication for understanding and advancing the role of audience awareness in emergent literacy development.

from First Language

What the stories children tell can tell about their memory: Narrative skill and young children’s suggestibility

from Developmental Psychology

The authors examined the relation between children’s narrative ability, which has been identified as an important contributor to memory development, and suggestibility. Across 2 studies, a total of 112 preschool-aged children witnessed a staged event and were subsequently questioned suggestively. Results from Study 1 indicated that children’s ability to provide a high-quality narrative of the event was related to resistance to suggestive questions, and narrative ability appeared to supersede age as a predictor of such resistance. In Study 2, children’s general language and narrative abilities were measured in addition to their ability to produce a high-quality narrative about the target event. These results replicated Study 1’s findings that children’s ability to produce a high-quality narrative of a previously experienced event predicted resistance to suggestion. However, the quality of children’s autobiographical memory narratives predicted shifting from denial to assent. Findings are considered in light of narrative’s role in memory development and underlying mechanisms that may explain children’s suggestibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).

Autobiographical narratives of deaf and hearing adults: An examination of narrative coherence and the use of internal states

from Memory

To examine the impact of early linguistic experiences on later verbal report of autobiographical memory, 13 hearing adults and 13 deaf adults born to hearing parents described events that occurred before and after the age of 10 years. The contextual, temporal, and thematic coherence of the narratives was rated. The use of emotional, perceptual, mental, and physiological states was also recorded. There were differences in the coherence of the narratives and use of internal states according to the age at which the events occurred. There were no group differences in coherence, but hearing adults provided longer narratives than deaf adults. When narrative length was controlled, deaf adults included more emotional states than hearing adults. Results suggest that early unavailability of language does not impact the coherence of adults’ narratives, although certain features of linguistic expression specific to ASL may result in greater saturation of emotional states references in autobiographical narratives of deaf adults.

Meaning making in mothers’ and children’s narratives of emotional events

from Memory

Narrative coherence and the inclusion of mental state language are critical aspects of meaning making, especially about stressful events. Mothers and their 8- to 12-year-old children with asthma independently narrated a time they were scared, frustrated, and happy. Although mothers’ narratives were generally more coherent and more saturated with mental state language than children’s narratives, for both mothers and children narratives of negative events were more coherent and contained more mental state language than narratives of positive events overall, and narratives of scary events contained more mental state language than narratives of frustrating events. Coherence appears to be multifaceted, in that the three dimensions of coherence coded, context, chronology, and theme were not strongly interrelated within narratives of the same event, but use of mental state language, including cognitive-processing and emotion words, appears to be more integrated. Moreover, while thematic coherence seems to be a consistent individual narrative style across valence of event being narrated, mental state language appears to be a consistent style only across the two stressful event narratives. Finally, and quite surprisingly, there were virtually no relations between mothers’ and children’s narrative meaning making.

American Sign Language syntactic and narrative comprehension in skilled and less skilled readers: Bilingual and bimodal evidence for the linguistic basis of reading

from Applied Psycholinguistics

We tested the hypothesis that syntactic and narrative comprehension of a natural sign language can serve as the linguistic basis for skilled reading. Thirty-one adults who were deaf from birth and used American Sign Language (ASL) were classified as skilled or less skilled readers using an eighth-grade criterion. Proficiency with ASL syntax, and narrative comprehension of ASL and Manually Coded English (MCE) were measured in conjunction with variables including exposure to print, nonverbal IQ, and hearing and speech ability. Skilled readers showed high levels of ASL syntatic ability and narrative comprehension whereas less skilled readers did not. Regression analyses showed ASL syntactic ability to contribute unique variance in English reading performance when the effects of nonverbal IQ, exposure to print, and MCE comprehension were controlled. A reciprocal relationship between print exposure and sign language proficiency was further found. The results indicate that the linguistic basis of reading, and the reciprocal relationship between print exposure and “through the air” language, can be bimodal, as in being a sign language or a spoken language, and bilingual, as in being ASL and English.

Brief Report: Narratives of Personal Events in Children with Autism and Developmental Language Disorders: Unshared Memories

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Abstract Narrative analysis of personal events provides an opportunity for identifying autism specific issues related to language and social impairments. Eight personal events were elicited from three groups of schoolage children: 14 high-functioning with Autism Spectrum Disorders (HFA), 12 non-autistic with developmental language disorders (DLD), and 12 typically developing matched for chronological age and non-verbal IQ. The coding focused on narrative format (constituents) and style (coherence). The analyses indicate basic knowledge of conventional narrative format in all groups but a consistent lack of high-point in HFA children’s stories interpreted as a consequence of their lack of social understanding of narrative. The results suggest novel interventions to foster autobiographical memory in HFA children which may assist in their self-awareness development.

Personal Narratives: Cultural Differences and Clinical Implications

from Topics in Language Disorders

Narrative production, especially personal narrative discourse, is a critical aspect of communicative competence. It is important for children in relating to peers and adults, acquiring literacy, receiving medical care, or testifying in legal situations. This article focuses on personal narratives, including their structure, development, and impairments. The Narrative Assessment Profile and high-point analysis are described to show how personal narratives can be assessed and how cultural differences can be contrasted from discourse impairments. The aim of these analyses is to show how misdiagnosis of cultural difference deficits can be prevented and how mistaking deficits in narrative production for cultural differences can be avoided. Implications for intervention are also presented.