This study aimed to establish whether 5- to 7-year-old children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have difficulties explaining actions in terms of intentions and if so, to elucidate the nature of such difficulties. Children with DLD and typically developing chronological age peers (TD group) participated in a production task designed to elicit “intentional mode” explanations (e.g. The girl put a spider in the bed because she wanted to give the boy a fright). The DLD group produced significantly fewer well-formed intentional mode explanations than the TD group, made significantly fewer attempts at producing these explanations, and used a more restricted range of linguistic constructions. However, almost all the children with DLD made at least occasional attempts at producing intentional mode explanations. These findings imply that although children with DLD are likely to require support with the socially important task of explaining actions in terms of intentions, there is a foundation on which intervention and classroom practice can build.
- children with developmental language disorder
- complex sentences
- causal connectives