The language of beginning writers: implications for children with complex communication needs Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Clendon, Sally
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • Research that has examined the language produced by children with complex communication needs (CCN) suggests that these children frequently struggle to develop mature language skills. This study is the first study in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to consider the parallels that exist between learning to write and learning to use an AAC system, and the potential application that typical written language development has for children with CCN. Both groups of children confront the challenge of taking language that is inside their heads and translating it into an expressive form, using an instrument that is not second-nature to them. The cognitive, memory, and physical demands of such a process have obvious ramifications for the quantity and quality of the language produced. This study analyzes the language used by typically developing early-elementary children in North Carolina and New Zealand when they write about self-selected topics. The findings of this study document school age and country-related differences in the vocabulary words, semantic themes, and syntactic and morphological structures used by typically developing children. School age comparisons highlight the restricted language abilities of children in the earliest stages of writing development and country comparisons reveal differences in areas such as core vocabulary and clausal and phrasal diversity. The findings of this study provide much needed information regarding the developmental nature of language use in written language. This information will be relevant to speech-language pathologists, teachers, and other professionals as they engage in selecting, prioritizing, and organizing language in children's AAC systems.
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  • In Copyright
  • Erickson, Karen A.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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