Theory of mind and specific language impairment in school-age children
SourceJournal of communication disorders
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Research on the relationship between aspects of language development and Theory of Mind (ToM) in children with language impairments suggests that children with language impairment show a delay in ToM development. This study aimed to examine the relationships of the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic skills with ToM in school-age children. Twenty children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) aged 9-12 years and two control groups, one matched for chronological age (CA) and one for language ability (LA) (aged 8-10 years) were compared on a set of language tasks tapping syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic skills and on an advanced test of ToM. Results showed that children with SLI performed poorly on the ToM task compared to the CA matches. Also, analysis showed that language skills and ToM are related and that syntactic and pragmatic abilities contributed significantly to the prediction of ToM performance in the SLI group. It is concluded that the syntax/pragmatic aspects of the language impact on ToM understanding in children with SLI. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.