Listeners' perceptions of language use in children

Laura Segebart DeThorne, Ruth V. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Past research suggests that when children's communication skills do not match others' expectations, children are likely to be perceived negatively and may consequently experience less academic and social success. This project focused on listeners' perceptions of three children, one with specific language impairment (SL1) and two typically developing peers. The listeners consisted of teachers, speech-language pathologists, undergraduate students, and sixth-grade students. All four listener groups consistently perceived the child with SL1 more negatively than the typically developing youngsters, thereby illuminating the need for clinicians to (a) increase their awareness of personal biases, (b) educate parents and teachers regarding the nature of SL1, (c) collaborate with teachers and other professionals to promote the social integration of children with language impairment in the classroom, and (d) consider the social impact of particular speech-language characteristics when prioritizing intervention targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2001


  • Listeners' perceptions
  • Preschool children
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Specific language impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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