Assessing Children with Language Impairments: A Study on Kannada, a South Indian Language
Purpose: This is one of the first comprehensive studies to assess receptive and expressive language skills in a South Indian language, Kannada. It demystifies language impairments and provides a model for future research to understand other languages in India and in countries around the world.
Method: Language impairments were identified in 68 students of Grades 3 and 4, in elementary schools where Kannada was the medium of instruction. The children were assessed in different language components. The results were analysed in terms of their ages and their levels of functioning in each language component and sub-component.
Results: As a group, the subjects showed no significant deficits in phonological and semantic skills; however, individual deficits and deficits within sub-component skills of semantics were noted. Mean and individual deficits in auditory reception, aural comprehension and receptive vocabulary were also noted. Deficits in syntax & verbal expression were notably significant. The extent of language delay increases with age, and plateaus at higher ages.
Conclusion: Children with language impairments in Kannada, display many similar characteristics in terms of problems in different components of language. Early intervention is called for because the language delay increases as age advances. A thorough assessment reveals specific strengths and weaknesses in language components and skills. This can be used as a starting point to base remediation activities.
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