The purpose of this study was to describe preschoolers' conversational responsiveness in an integrated classroom setting. Variables of primary interest were the types of responses as a function of the conversational partner. The children were categorized according to language ability: normally developing, marginal (children previously diagnosed as language or speech impaired, but now functioning within the normal range), language impaired (LI), and speech impaired (SI). They were observed during free play. Differences in response types were apparent between groups with both adult and peer partners. LI and SI children were ignored by their peers and responded less often when a peer initiated to them. Hence, they participated in proportionately fewer peer interactions. These results suggest that peer interaction difficulties may be concomitant consequences of early speech and language impairments. Clinical implications for verbal interactive skill intervention, particularly with peers in classroom settings, are discussed.
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