Aalborg University  
LIMoBiS: International Conference - Language Impairment in Monolingual and Bilingual Society

PhD course on Children’s Language Development

Description of topics

Boundaries between language impairment and autism in children –  Dorothy Bishop

Traditionally, language impairment and autistic disorder have been regarded as two separate conditions, but some children are hard to categorise in this way, because the have a profile of difficulties that is intermediate between the two disorders. This is sometimes referred to as semantic-pragmatic disorder or pragmatic language impairment (PLI). I will consider two issues: first, how can we assess pragmatic language difficulties in children, and second, is there evidence that PLI is a subtype of SLI, a subtype of autism, or a separate condition?

Bishop, D. V. M. (2#356987). Pragmatic language impairment: a correlate of SLI, a distinct subgroup, or part of the autistic continuum? In D. V. M. Bishop & L. B. Leonard (Eds.), Speech and Language Impairments in Children: Causes, Characteristics, Intervention and Outcome (pp. 99-113). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Bishop, D. V. M., & Norbury, C. F. (2002). Exploring the borderlands of autistic disorder and specific language impairment: A study using standardised diagnostic instruments. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 917-929.

Bishop, D. V. M., Whitehouse, A. J. O., Watt, H. J., & Line, E. A. (2008). Autism and diagnostic substitution: Evidence from a study of adults with a history of developmental language disorder. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 50, 341-345.

What can gestures inform us about early pragmatic competences and how can we relate this to atypical development? - Kristine Jensen de Lopéz

What do gestures tell us about infants' early communicative competences and how can this knowledge be linked to atypical language development? Most research on developmental disorders has focused on verbal forms of communication in order to understanding the core problems underlying SLI and sometimes has suggested a clear dissociation between language and cognition. However, more recently the distinction in the case of SLI has become less clear suggesting that language disorders may rest upon a specific cognitive impairment, and indirect support for this is seen in recent research showing that utterances that integrate gesture with speech are comprehended differently by SLI children compared to TD children. I will present cross-linguistic and cross-cultural evidence of the relationship between gestures and words in typical early communicative development and discuss the theoretical and clinical implications of integrating non-verbal measures in the assessment of language impairment. Botting, N., Riches, N., Gaynor, M. & Morgan, G. (2010). Gesture production and comprehension in children with specific language impairment. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28, 51-69. Capirci, O. & Volterra, V. (2008). Gesture and Speech: the emergence and development of a strong and changing partnership. Gesture 8:1, 22-4. Stefanini, S., Caselli, M. C. & Volterra, V. (2007). Spoken and gestural production in a naming task by young children with Down syndrome. Brain and Language, 101 (3), 208-221. Jensen de López, K. (in prep.). Gesture en route to words: evidence from Danish and Zapotec children and their cavegivers viewed from a micro perspective.

Designing on-line sentence processing experiments for children with SLI – Theodore Marinis

In this workshop I will introduce the most widely used paradigms investigating sentence processing in children, i.e. self-paced reading and listening, cross-modal priming, word monitoring, self-paced listening with picture verification. This will include a short introduction of each procedure, the rationale, subject selection criteria, material construction, advantages, disadvantages, and practical tips.

Children Learning Two Languages Sequentially: What’s Typical? – Kathryn Kohnert

A clear understanding of how to best provide clinical serves to bilingual children with suspected or confirmed primary language impairment is predicated on understanding typical development in dual-language learners. I will present behavioral evidence from children learning minority first languages and a majority second language and discuss its clinical and theoretical relevance.



Aalborg University · Department of Communication and Psychology · 9220 Aalborg Oest · Denmark · Phone +45 9940 9940 · phd-course@hum.aau.dk