This research investigated whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) and non-specific language impairment (NLI) could be differentiated by their oral narrative characteristics. Oral narrative samples were collected from 69 children and comparisons were made among four groups of participants. The two language impairment groups (SLI and NLI), aged 4;116;03, were matched for age and their linguistics skills. Their oral narratives were compared between these diagnostic groups and with age-matched and language-matched control groups. Measures of narrative structure, cohesion, and information did not significantly differentiate the SLI and NLI groups, suggesting that the influence of their similar linguistic skills on oral narrative measures was stronger than the influence of their differing non-verbal cognition. The SLI group produced significantly more complex and informative oral narratives than the language-matched group, while the NLI group differed from the language-matched group on fewer measures. Interactions among linguistic, cognitive, maturational, and task factors are discussed.
- Differential diagnosis
- Non-specific language impairment
- Oral narrative
- Specific language impairment