Repair behaviors of children with and without mental retardation

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Scudder, Rosalind Regier
Tremain, D. H.

Mental retardation. 1992 Oct; 30(5): 277-82.


Repair behaviors (a speaker's attempts to make a message understood when the listener indicates a breakdown in communication has occurred) of children with and without mental retardation, ages 8 to 13, were compared as they responded to stacked sequences of requests for clarification (the child's response to a request for clarification is followed by a second and then a third request for clarification). A picture description task with a barrier between the child and examiner was the repair-evoking context. Significant differences were observed in the use of repairs by the two groups. Children with mental retardation did not respond as often as did the children without mental retardation, who also more frequently used details to expand their utterances. Differences were also observed as the request sequence progressed. Evaluation of repair behaviors of children with mental retardation may provide direction for the development of conversational skills.

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