Joffe, V and Cain, K and Maric, N (2007) Comprehension problems in children with specific language impairment: does mental imagery training help? International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 42 (6). pp. 648-664. ISSN 1460-6984
Background. Children with specific language impairment (SLI) experience story comprehension deficits (Bishop and Adams, 1992; Botting and Adams, 2005; Norbury and Bishop, 2002). Research with typically developing children, poor comprehenders and poor readers have shown that the use of mental imagery aids comprehension of stories (Pressley, 1976; Gambrell and Bales, 1986; Oakhill and Patel, 1991). Aim. To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention programme in the use of mental imagery to improve the literal and inferential comprehension of children with SLI. Methods and procedure. Nine children with SLI were trained to produce mental images for sentences and stories in five 30-minute sessions. Their ability to answer literal and inferential questions about short narratives was assessed pre- and post-intervention and compared to the performance of 16 same-age typically developing controls. Outcome and results. The intervention improved the question-answering performance of the children with SLI for both literal and inferential questions: the improvement was only significant for the literal questions. Conclusions and implications. The findings demonstrate that a relatively short intervention in the use of mental imagery is an effective way to boost the story comprehension of children with SLI.
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