THE COMPREHENSION OF INDIRECT DIRECTIVES BY CHILDREN WITH SLI
Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a dysfunction in which, apart from abnormalities in the acquisition of language, there are no serious disturbances in psychomotor development. There is a great deal of literature on the active speech skills of children with SLI, but much less is known about their competence in reception. The primary goal of the present study was to find out how children with SLI understand indirect directives addressed to them by asking them if the action was possible. The
... tudy was conducted using the authors' own method for studying indirect directives. The clinical group consisted of 76 children with SLI, ranging in age from 4;0 to 6;11. A group of 136 children of the same age served as controls. The mean between-group results did not differ significantly in terms of reacting to indirect directives in a manner responsive to the speaker's intention. In all age groups, however, the children with SLI had significantly lower scores than the controls in terms of interpreting the indirect directives as questions about the possibility of performing the action. The SLI group also displayed significantly more passive behaviors than did the controls. Although these children with SLI did not differ from controls with normal language development in terms of understanding indirect directives in accordance with the speaker's intentions, the failure to consider alternative interpretations was significantly greater among the SLI children, although the difference becomes smaller with age.