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Speech and language characteristics of blind and visually impaired children

Ana Kavčič (2017) Speech and language characteristics of blind and visually impaired children. MSc thesis.

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    Blindness and visual impairment can have a negative influence on the speech and language development and social interaction of young children who are learning how to speak. In my masters dissertation I focus on the speech and language characteristics of blind and visually impaired preschool children and discover what is characteristic of their expression and comprehension. In the theoretical part I describe the development of speech and language in general and then turn to the speech and language of blind and visually impaired children. I describe the linguistic language development and present different fields of speech and language characteristics. When discussing expression through speech and language I have turned especially to phonological capacity and the comprehensibility of speech and grammatical, semantic and pragmatic capacity while in an additional chapter I have given some attention to speech and language comprehension. The empirical section is based on a study of the speech and language characteristics of four blind and visually impaired preschool children. I used a scale adapted from foreign language scales to evaluate their functioning in all the above areas. Results show that in terms of comprehensibility of speech and phonological capacity, the children partially assimilate this skill. The same is the case for grammatical capacity where individuals have most trouble with the use of pronouns. Utterance length was in accordance with the norm for children of that age (with the exception of the youngest child), as was vocabulary. In general they are still acquiring semantic capacity and I noted the use of verbalisms by one of the children. Pragmatic capacity is also still being acquired. The largest deviations were in repeating stories in the right order and free story-telling, besides insufficient visual observation of the speaker during conversation. In the study of a visually impaired girl we noticed that in some situations more questions were posed, there was some echolalia and some unusual sounds and exclamations were emitted that were not detected in the other children. In the field of speech and language comprehension, three of the four studied children attained the normal level for their age-group and receptive language was mastered in its entirety. The fourth and youngest child, meanwhile, is still in the process of mastering these skills. On the basis of literature I have studied and my own observations of children, including this study, I have formed and proposed strategies for promoting speech and language expression and comprehension in blind and visually-impaired children with the aim of helping children, parents and professionals.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: blind and visually impaired children, communication, speech and language development, speech and language characteristics
    Number of Pages: 52
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Martina OzbičMentor
    asist. dr. Ingrid Žolgar JerkovićComentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11750217)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4794
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 14:18
    Last Modified: 03 Oct 2017 14:18
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4794

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